Definition - What does Afferent Nerves mean?
Afferent nerves are the sensory part of the body's nervous system. Afferent nerves transmit information, such as sights, sounds, smells, and textures, received by the sensory organs to the nervous system. Afferent nerves are also called afferent neurons, or sensory neurons. Damage to these nerves can result in a reduction of productivity and increased health care costs.
WorkplaceTesting explains Afferent Nerves
Afferent nerves are made up of individual nerve cells called neurons. The afferent neurons are the body's receiving system. Afferent nerves receive input from the body's various sensory organs and then transmit that information along ascending tracts made up of association neurons. Using this neural network, information is relayed to the brain. Once this information has been processed, the efferent nerves are used to signal the action to be taken in response.
In some instances, the afferent nerve input is conveyed directly to the body's reactionary efferent nerves. This direct communication between the nerves is responsible for reflexive actions such as a person's response to intense pain.
In addition to commonly understood sensations such as touch, hearing, and sight, afferent nerves convey information about the body's position and movement. Thus, humans can sense the location of their limbs and orient themselves in a physical space through the workings of the afferent nerves.
If a person suffers nerve damage, the effects and extent of that damage will be dependent on the location and type of nerve that has been harmed. Damage to any of the afferent nerves can have serious consequences to worksite safety. Safety equipment, policies, health screenings, and ergoomic policies can work to help prevent afferent nerve damage.