Health

What is The Acoustic Nerve?

The acoustic nerve, also known as the auditory or vestibulocochlear nerve is one of the cranial nerves. The cranial nerves are different from the spinal nerves as they come directly from the brain and not the spinal cord. The acoustic nerve assists the body with functions such as balance, hearing and head position which is also affected by this nerve.

There are two separate branches of the acoustic nerve, each branch has its own set of responsibilities. The first is called cochlear branch or cochlear nerve. This branch of the acoustic nerve transmits signals to the brain through the portion of the inner ear known as the cochlea, which is an integral structure of hearing.

The vestibular nerve is the second branch of the acoustic nerve. This branch helps the ability to hear, but also has other functions. The main function of this nerve branch is to interpret the signals related to head position. In addition to the position of the head, the vestibular nerve is crucial for the sense of balance.

Nerve damage is possible in any area of the body, but the damage involving the acoustic nerve symptoms and specific consequences. Such nerve damage may occur due to naturally occurring diseases or conditions. However, the damage to this particular area of the body is more likely to occur due to some type of traumatic injury.

Perhaps the most common cause (nontraumatic) of the acoustic nerve damage, is a medical condition known as an acoustic neuroma. This is not malignant, or cancerous, much less requires a sound insulation , acoustic neuromas are tumors that develop in the nerve. Dizziness and hearing loss are the main symptoms of this condition. Treatment usually involves surgery or radiation to remove or dissolve the tumor.

Physical trauma, particularly those affecting the face and head, have the potential to damage the integrated sound as well as the surrounding tissues and structures that compose it. Some common symptoms of this type of nerve damage include hearing loss, mild, moderate or severe, and dizziness or balance problems.

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears, is often a sign that the nerve damage might be a possibility. Vertigo is another condition that often coincides with other signs of injury. Treatment for any of these symptoms depend on the type of damage, and the extent of the injury. While surgery is often necessary to repair nerve damage, minor injuries may require little or no medical intervention.

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