The cochlea bears some resemblance to a common snail-shell; it forms the anterior part of the labyrinth, is conical in form, and placed almost horizontally in front of the vestibule

Its apex (cupula) is directed forward and lateralward, with a slight inclination downward, toward the upper and front part of the labyrinthic wall of the tympanic cavity

Its base corresponds with the bottom of the internal acoustic meatus, and is perforated by numerous apertures for the passage of the cochlear division of the acoustic nerve.

It measures about 5 mm. from base to apex, and its breadth across the base is about 9 mm.

It consists of a conical shaped central axis, the modiolus; of a canal, the inner wall of which is formed by the central axis, wound spirally around it for two turns and three-quarters, from the base to the apex; and of a delicate lamina, the osseous spiral lamina, which projects from the modiolus, and, following the windings of the canal, partially subdivides it into two.

In the recent state a membrane, the basal lamina, stretches from the free border of this lamina to the outer wall of the bony cochlea and completely separates the canal into two passages, which, however, communicate with each other at the apex of the modiolus by a small opening named the helicotrema.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


Download e-Anatomy

Mobile and tablet users, you can download e-Anatomy on Appstore or GooglePlay.

e-Anatomy on Appstore e-Anatomy on Googleplay