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The vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII) is the eighth cranial nerve and has two roles:
- innervation to the cochlea for hearing
- innervation to the vestibule for acceleration and balance senses
It emerges between the pons and the medulla, lateral to the facial nerve and nervus intermedius, passing laterally through the cerebellopontine angle to the internal acoustic meatus (IAM) with the aforementioned two other nerves.
In the IAM the nerve splits into four bundles: cochlear nerve, superior and inferior division of the vestibular nerve and nerve from the posterior semicircular canal, separated from each other by the falciform crest and Bill bar.
The vestibular nerve relays in the vestibular ganglion (a.k.a. ganglion of Scarpa), from there three bundles emerge:
- The superior division, located in the posterosuperior quadrant of the internal auditory canal, carries sensory fibers from the hair cells of the superior and lateral semicircular canals and utricle
- The inferior division, located in the posteroinferior quadrant, carries sensory fibers from the saccule
- The nerve from the posterior semicircular canal, also in the posteroinferior quadrant, passes through the foramen singulare