Facial Nerve Disorders

One might not think that audiologists have much to do with the facial nerve (VII Cranial), but in fact they do. Anatomically the 7th nerve courses near the middle ear and in fact controls the little branch known as the stapedius muscle that attaches to the neck of the stapes (stirrup) which is located in the middle ear. Audiologists are trained in evaluating various systems via electrophysiology. One very specific approach to assessing facial nerve function is electroneurography (ENoG). The most common type of facial paralysis is Bell’s palsy. This may to be due to a virus; the etiology is actually unknown.  The prognosis in most cases is good. The onset of symptoms is 48-72 hours. Recovery can begin within a couple of weeks. Full recovery may take from 3-6 months.

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