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Cochlear nerve

Recommended video: Vestibulocochlear nerve [24:58]
Anatomy, course and branches of the vestibulocochlear nerve.

The cochlear nerve is a branch of the vestibulochochlear nerve (CN VIII). It is a sensory nerve that plays a role in hearing. The cochlear nerve transmits auditory signals from the cochlea of the inner ear to the brainstem

It is composed of afferent and efferent fibers. The afferent fibers have bipolar cell bodies in the cochlear ganglion in the modiolus. The peripheral processes of these neurons also extend to the spiral organ. The cochlear nerve conveys these afferent sensory fibers from the spiral organ (of Corti) and terminate within the brainstem's cochlear nuclei complex. The cochlear nerve fibers can be classified as type I or type II:

  • Type I: project to the inner hair cells of the spiral organ (of Corti). These neurons are large and myelinated. They account for most of the cochlear nerve cells. 
  • Type II: project to the outer hair cells. They are smaller and unmyelinated. 

The function of the cochlear nerve is to relay signals from the hair cells to the auditory centers in the brain. 

Terminology English: Cochlear nerve 
Latin: Nervus cochleari
Branches Cochlear ganglion (spiral ganglion)
Function  Relay signals from the hair cells to the auditory centers in the brain

Learn more about the cochlear nerve in this study unit: 

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