Specialized constructs of the extracellular matrix termed perineuronal nets surround the soma, primary dendrites and initial axon segment of some but not all neuronal populations in the central nervous system. In an effort to determine the cellular localization of perineuronal nets in the human cochlear nucleus (CN), we first performed a quantitative morphometric study of the human CN. We provide evidence for a laminar organization in the human dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN; including molecular, granular and deep layers) as in other laboratory animals. Additionally, we find that the human ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) contains distinct octopus, stellate, globular and spherical bushy cell populations, as described in other species. Using Wisteria floribunda histochemistry in five human brainstems, we identified perineuronal nets in the human cochlear nucleus. Perineuronal nets are associated with the vast majority of octopus and stellate cells in the caudal VCN. In the rostral VCN, dense perineuronal nets are associated with globular bushy cells and faint nets are associated with some spherical bushy cells and stellate cells. Few perineuronal nets are found in the DCN.