Audition and the Chorda Tympani Nerve

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I recently worked with a young man complaining of intermittent impaired hearing. In his own words it sounded to him as if he was sometimes playing with the dial on the radio trying to bring things back into focus.

After assessing him via P-DTR, I was surprised to find that his Vestibulocochlear n. (CN VIII) was actually perfectly functional. Oftentimes this is the culprit when a client comes in complaining of issues with hearing sensitivity.

Where did we end up?

His tongue!

While this might seem quite strange and unexpected, the Chorda Tympani n. is actually a branch of the Facial n. (CN VII).

This nerve enters the tympanic cavity and passes medial to the tympanic membrane before joining with the lingual nerve and providing innervation to the anterior 2/3 of the tongue.

Often forgotten about, dysfunctional information traveling via this nerve can in fact lead to hearing difficulties.

While it’s simple to say that all structures in the body ultimately connected, understanding the specifics of exactly HOW this works is key to speedy resolution of dysfunction.

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