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Cranial Nerve VII (Facial): Clinical Correlates

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Anatomy

Summary

The vestibulocochlear nerve or cranial nerve VIII (CN VIII) has two primary components: the vestibular and the cochlear. It originates at the pontomedullary junction. Along with the facial nerve (CN VII), the vestibulocochlear nerve travels through the posterior fossa and into the inner ear via the internal acoustic meatus.

In terms of function, the vestibulocochlear nerve conveys special sensory information. The cochlear branch is responsible for hearing, while the vestibular branch transmits sensory information from the utricle and the saccule, aiding in the perception of linear and gravitational forces. It also receives input from the cristae of the ampullae in the semicircular canals to detect rotational forces.

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FAQs

What is the primary function of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII)?

The vestibulocochlear nerve is primarily responsible for hearing and balance. It has two components: the cochlear nerve which transmits sound input, and the vestibular nerve which conveys balance and position information from the semicircular canals.

What is the relationship between the vestibulocochlear nerve and the facial nerve?

The vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII) and the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) both travel through the posterior fossa and into the inner ear via the internal acoustic meatus.

What are the roles of the cochlear and vestibular nerves of CN VIII?

The cochlear nerve is the component of cranial nerve VIII that handles auditory sensory information. It receives input from hair cells in the cochlea, which is then relayed to the brain to be interpreted as sound. The vestibular nerve conveys information about balance and spatial orientation from specialized sensors in the semicircular canals and the otolith organs in the inner ear.