hair cells

mechano-transducers that detect energy or pressure changes. They are complex structures that include a cell body on the surface of a membrane. At the base of the hair cell are one or more neural synapses. On the upper surface of the hair cell are hair-like projections called stereocilia, commonly in bundles. These stereocila bend in response to a range of stimuli based on the species, some from fluid motion, some in association with crystals or otoliths, some because of being embedded in a second membrane. When these stereocila bend, they trigger a release of chemicals that initiates the electrical signal (neural impulse) that is carried to and processed by the brain.