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What is located inside our head?

The human head contains many vital organs that allow us to sense, think, and function. The major parts inside our head include the brain, eyes, ears, mouth, and nasal cavity. These parts work together to help us experience the world around us.

The Brain

The brain is undoubtedly the most complex and important organ inside our head. This soft, squishy organ weighs about 3 pounds and contains billions of neurons, synapses, and pathways. The brain is the control center of the body and allows us to interpret information from the outside world. It controls our thoughts, movements, senses, speech, memories, and more. Without the brain, we could not function at all.

The brain is divided into several lobes and regions:

  • Frontal lobe – involved in planning, problem-solving, emotions, and speech
  • Parietal lobe – processes sensory information related to touch, pain, temperature, and limb position
  • Occipital lobe – processes visual information
  • Temporal lobe – processes auditory information, language, and memories
  • Cerebellum – coordinates movement and balance
  • Brainstem – regulates heart rate, breathing, and consciousness

In addition to the major lobes, the brain contains deep structures such as the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. These regions control our motivation, regulate hormones and body functions, express emotions, and form memories.

The Eyes

The eyes are located in two bony cavities in the skull called the orbits. Their purpose is to receive visual input and transform it into signals that the brain can understand.

Structures that make up the eye include:

  • Cornea – the clear outer layer that covers the front of the eye
  • Iris – the colored part of the eye
  • Pupil – the black opening in the center of the iris
  • Lens – focuses light onto the back of the eye
  • Retina – lines the inside of the eye and contains light-sensing cells
  • Optic nerve – carries signals from the eye to the brain

The cornea and lens work together to refract light and focus images onto the retina. The retina contains specialized photoreceptor cells called rods and cones. Rods detect light and motion while cones detect color. The optic nerve transmits visual signals from the retina to the brain for processing.

The Ears

The ears are the organs that provide us with the senses of hearing and balance. Sound waves are funneled through the outer ear and into the middle and inner ear.

The ear is made up of:

  • Outer ear – made up of the pinna, ear canal, and eardrum
  • Middle ear – contains three tiny bones called ossicles
  • Inner ear – contains the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system for balance

Sound waves enter the outer ear and vibrate the eardrum. These vibrations are transmitted through the ossicles in the middle ear, which amplify and transmit them to the inner ear. In the cochlea of the inner ear, fluid waves stimulate hair cells that generate electric signals. These signals travel along the auditory nerve to the brain for interpretation.

The vestibular system of the inner ear contains fluid and motion sensors that detect the position and movement of the head. This input on balance and spatial orientation is sent to the brain via the vestibular nerve.

The Mouth

The mouth, also known as the oral cavity, is the point of entry for food, water, and air. It plays a vital role in eating, drinking, breathing, and speaking.

The mouth contains many structures including:

  • Lips
  • Teeth
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Salivary glands
  • Upper and lower jaw

Teeth grind and chew food into smaller pieces while saliva softens and breaks down food. The tongue moves food around while chewing and helps swallowing. It also allows us to taste and speak. The upper and lower jaw provide structure and contain the teeth sockets. Many nerves and blood vessels supply the mouth to provide sensation and nutrition.

The Nasal Cavity

The nasal cavity is a large, air-filled space behind the nose and above the roof of the mouth. This serves as a conduit for air to enter our lungs.

As air enters the nostrils, it passes through the nasal cavity which filters, warms, and moistens it. Hairs and mucus trap dust, pollen, and other particles before they can enter the lungs. The capillaries of the nasal cavity warm inhaled air to body temperature. Mucus-secreting cells line the walls to humidify the air and prevent it from drying out the lungs.

The nasal cavity also houses the olfactory receptors, which are the specialized cells for the sense of smell. Chemical particles in the inhaled air bind to these receptors, generating nerve signals that are sent to the brain as odors and aromas.


Although the head is a relatively small part of our body, it houses many incredible structures that are vital for our existence. The brain, eyes, ears, mouth, and nasal cavity work in harmony to allow us to interpret the world around us through sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. The brain integrates the sensory input from these organs to produce thought, speech, movement, and expression of emotions and memories. Proper functioning of all the components inside the head is essential for experiencing life.