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Vestibulocochlear nerve

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Definition

noun, plural: vestibulocochlear nerves

The cranial nerve supplying the hair cells of the vestibular organ and the hair cells of the cochlea, and is responsible for the sense of hearing and balance (equilibrium)


Supplement

Cranial nerves are paired nerves that emerge from the brain and the brainstem. They supply the motor pathways between organs in the face and the upper body, and account for detecting and processing various sensations. One of the cranial nerves is the vestibulocochlear nerve, which is also referred to as the eighth cranial nerve or cranial nerve VIII (CN VIII).

In humans and other vertebrates, the vestibulocochlear nerve is a composite sensory nerve supplying the hair cells of the vestibular organ and the hair cells of the cochlea. It is responsible for the sense of hearing and balance (i.e. body position sense). It transmits sound and equilibrium information from the inner ear to the brain. It splits into the vestibular and cochlear nerve (thus, the name). In particular, the vestibular part innervates the vestibules and the semicircular canal, and transmits information about equilibrium or body position. The cochlear nerve innervates the cochlea, and transmits sound impulses to brain. Lesion of the vestibulocochlear nerve may result in deafness, tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo and vomiting.


Synonym(s):

  • cranial nerve VIII (CN VIII)
  • eighth cranial nerve
  • acoustic nerve
  • auditory nerve
  • auditory vestibular nerve

See also:

Related term(s):