An electronystagmogram (ENG) measures normal eye movement and involuntary rapid eye movements called nystagmus. It also checks the muscles that control eye movements. ENG checks how well the eyes, inner ears, and brain help you keep your balance and position (such as when you change from lying down to standing).
ENG is done to help see whether there is damage or a problem in how the inner ear, brain, or nerves connecting them work. These problems may cause dizziness, vertigo, or loss of balance.
Nystagmus occurs normally when the head is moved. But nystagmus without moving your head or nystagmus that does not go away may be caused by conditions that affect the inner ear, brain, or the nerves connecting them.
During ENG, electrodes are attached to the face near the eyes to record eye movements. The movements are recorded on graph paper. A series of recordings is done.
An electronystagmogram (ENG) is done to:
For 2 to 5 days before the test, you will be asked to stop taking:
Your doctor may ask you to eat a light meal or not eat for 3 to 4 hours before the test, because the test can cause nausea and vomiting.
Do not wear facial makeup during the test so the electrodes can attach to the skin.
If you normally wear glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids, bring them to the test.
If you have a neck or back problem, tell your doctor, so your neck and back will be protected during the test.
An electronystagmogram (ENG) may be done in a hospital or in a doctor's office by a doctor or hearing specialist (audiologist).
Before the test begins, your eyes and ears will be checked. Any earwax in your ear canal will be removed.
Five electrodes will be attached with a special paste to your face. You will be in a dark room for the test. The test may have six parts.
The test may take 60 to 90 minutes.
You may feel weak, dizzy, or nauseated during an electronystagmogram. You may feel as if you are going to fall down during the test, but don't worry—the doctor or audiologist will make sure you do not fall. These feelings will go away when the test is done.
If you are having the test because you have dizziness or vertigo, you may find that the test causes your condition to be worse for a short time.
During the caloric test, you may feel nauseous and may vomit. You may need to lie down until the nausea and vomiting or vertigo pass.
An electronystagmogram may cause vomiting. There is a small chance of causing a neck or back problem to get worse during the test because of the quick body movements that are done.
An electronystagmogram (ENG) measures normal eye movement and involuntary rapid eye movements called nystagmus. It also checks the muscles that control eye movements. ENG checks how well the eyes, inner ears, brain, and nerves connecting them help you keep your balance and position (such as when you change from lying down to standing). Results are recorded as normal or abnormal.
Test results are normal if there are no abnormal involuntary eye movements during the test. Some nystagmus occurs normally when you turn your head.
Results of the caloric test are normal if involuntary eye movements have normal direction and intensity.
Test results are abnormal if there is nystagmus with head-turning that does not go away in a specific or normal length of time. The results of the caloric test are abnormal if there are fewer eye movements or no eye movement during the test. Abnormal results may:
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineColin H. Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - NeurologyKarin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
Current as ofOctober 9, 2017
Current as of: October 9, 2017
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Colin H. Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.