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Brainstem with (8) Ball-headphones
CN VIII is a sensory nerve that is also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve. It divides into the vestibular nerve which is responsible for balance/equilibrium and visual fixation during movement and the cochlear nerve which is responsible for hearing.
Vestibulocochlear Nerve
Vest-bull with Cock-ears Fighting

The nucleus of the vestibulocochlear nerve is located in the pontomedullary junction. The nerve passes through the internal auditory meatus and it divides into the cochlear nerve and the vestibular nerve.


CN VIII is responsible for the sensory functions of hearing and balance. Damage to CN VIII can lead to hearing loss, vertigo, and nystagmus.

Sensor with Ear

The cochlear nerve innervates hair cells in the labyrinth of the inner ear. This function is assessed at a basic level by determining if the patient can hear a soft whisper in either ear.


The vestibular nerve innervates the vestibular system of the inner ear. It helps us sense and maintain our equilibrium and more importantly it helps with maintaining visual fixation during movement.

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