The principal functions of the vestibulocochlear nerve are hearing and vestibular function. Hearing is tested one ear at a time. Testing of hearing can be done by comparing each side with a finger rub, watch tick, or vibration of a tuning fork. The Rinne test compares bone conduction with air conduction on both sides. A tuning fork is placed on the mas-toid process to assess bone conduction and then in front of the ear to assess air conduction. Air conduction should be louder than bone conduction. The Weber test evaluates middle ear conduction. A vibrating tuning fork is placed on the forehead. With normal hearing, there should be equal sound in both ears. Sound lateralized to one side indicates a conductive loss on that side or a neural loss on the opposite side. Vestibular function is not routinely tested.
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