Anatomy & Physiology Nervous #17


Which cranial nerve is responsible for the sense of hearing?


  1. Optic nerve
    • Rationale:

      The optic nerve, or cranial nerve II, is responsible for sight not hearing.

  2. Vagus nerve
    • Rationale:

      The vagus nerve, or cranial nerve X, is responsible for parts of the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems including the pharynx and swallowing.

  3. Acoustic nerve
    • Rationale:

      The acoustic nerve (i.e., vestibulocochlear nerve), or cranial nerve VIII, is responsible for the transmission of hearing.

  4. Oculomotor nerve
    • Rationale:

      The oculomotor nerve, or cranial nerve III, is responsible for managing eye movements.


Cranial nerves arise from the brain, not the spinal cord, and pass through separate openings in the skull.


Learning Outcomes

There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Some function as sensory nerves while others function as motor nerves; there are some cranial nerves that serve both functions. The acoustic (i.e., vestibulocochlear) nerve is a sensory cranial nerve that transmits the sense of hearing.

Test Taking Tip

Consider the function of each cranial nerve to determine the correct answer choice for this question.

Video Rationale