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Acoustic nerve

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Nerve: Vestibulocochlear nerve
The course and connections of the facial nerve in the temporal bone
Latin '
Gray's subject #203
To cochlear nerve, vestibular nerve
MeSH A08.800.800.120.910

The acoustic nerve (also known as the auditory or vestibulocochlear nerve) is the eighth of twelve cranial nerves, and is responsible for transmitting sound and equilibrium (balance) information from the inner ear to the brain.


This nerve, along which the sensory cells (the hair cells) of the inner ear transmit information to the brain. It consists of the cochlear nerve, carrying information about hearing, and the vestibular nerve, carrying information about balance. It emerges from the medulla oblongata and enters the inner skull via the internal acoustic meatus (or internal auditory meatus) in the temporal bone, along with the facial nerve.


The eighth cranial nerve has two prime roles. It is needed to convey information of vestibular sensation - that is, the position and movement of the head. Secondly, it is used for hearing.


The nerve splits into two large divisions - the cochlear nerve and the vestibular nerve. Broadly speaking, the cochlear nerve innervates the cochlea, while the vestibular nerve goes to the vestibular apparatus.


How hearing information is coded on the nerve has long been a matter of scientific debate between two competing theories, a place theory and a rate theory.


Some older texts call the nerve the acoustic or auditory nerve [1], but these terms have fallen out of widespread use because they fail to recognize the nerve's role in the vestibular system. Vestibulocochlear nerve is therefore preferred by most.

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