What Are Semicircular Canals?
en español: Conductos semicirculares
Say: seh-mee-SER-kyoo-ler ka-NALS
The semicircular canals are three tiny, fluid-filled tubes in the inner ear that help you keep your balance. When your head moves around, the liquid inside the semicircular canals sloshes around and moves the tiny hairs that line each canal. These hairs translate the movement of the liquid into nerve messages that are sent to your brain. Your brain then tells your body how to stay balanced. If you spin around and then stop, the liquid inside your semicircular canals moves awhile longer and the hairs continue to send the message that you are spinning even though you're not. That's why you feel dizzy after carnival or amusement park rides. Whoa!