Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course


7.3 The descending auditory pathway

The auditory system transmits information from the cochlea to the auditory cortex. Another system follows a similar path, but in reverse, from the cortex to the cochlear nuclei. This is the descending auditory pathway. In general, the descending pathway may be regarded as exercising an inhibitory function by means of a sort of negative feedback. It may also determine which ascending impulses are to be blocked and which are allowed to pass to other centres in the brain. The olivocochlear bundle, which arises from the olivary complex, is involved in sharpening or otherwise modifying the analysis that is made in the cochlea.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus