Today we move on in our tour of the cranial nerves to another nerve that is basically responsible for an entire system. In fact, it’s an overachiever…and does TWO. We’ve had the olfactory and the optic, and now, we welcome the vestibulocochlear, which does both auditory AND your sense of balance.
The auditory system is one of my favorites (I’ve always had a soft spot for the trochlear nerve, I don’t know why, but this is the other favorite), because the interior of the ear is just so PRETTY. It’s full of caverns and arches, delicate hairs and membranes. It really is very pretty.
I have to warn you, this is a really large and complicated system, right up there with the eye. So we’re going to start with just the auditory portion of the vestibulocochlear nerve, and we’ll cover the vestibular portion next time.