The auditory nerve, also known as the acoustic nerve , vestibulocochlear nerve, or eighth cranial
nerve is one of twelve major pairs of cranial nerves located in the cranium. Its singular function is to transmit information from the cochlea and semi-circular canals to the brain for interpretation.
The auditory nerve can be become dysfunctional, causing sensorineural hearing loss or deafness, by a variety of factors including the following:
* Infection - may cause irreversible hearing loss or deafness. In newborns infections such as syphilis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes and toxoplasmosis can be passed on from the mother. In children the types of bacterial infection that can damage the auditory nerve include mumps, rubella, meningitis, chronic otitus media, etc. In adults viral infections such as the flu, shingles, syphilis, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, herpes simplex can damage the auditory nerve and cause hearing loss and/or deafness
* Disease - such as Meniere's Disease and demyelinating diseases (including multiple sclerosis) can cause damage to the auditory nerve and result in hearing loss or deafness
* Trauma - The auditory nerve can also be damaged as a result of head injuries that damage parts of the brain through which the auditory nerve runs can cause hearing loss and deafness.
* Tumors - such a acoustic neuroma and other benign and malignant brain tumors that press on the auditory nerve can cause a loss of hearing or deafness
* Medications - antibiotics and chemotherapy medications are known to cause auditory nerve damage in some individuals
* Hereditary neurologic disorders such as neurofibromatosis and some forms of multiple sclerosis can affect the auditory nerve.