Electronystagmography is a test that looks at eye movements to see how well two nerves in the brain are working. These nerves are:
Patches called electrodes, are placed above, below, and on each side of your eyes. They may be sticky patches or attached to a headband. Another patch is attached to the forehead.
The health care provider will deliver cold water or air into each ear at seperate times. The patches record eye movements that occur when the inner ear and nearby nerves are stimulated by the water or air. When cold water enters the ear, you should have rapid, side-to-side eye movements called nystagmus.
Next, warm water or air is placed into the ear. The eyes should now move rapidly toward the warm water then slowly away.
Patients may also be asked to use their eyes to track objects, such as flashing lights or moving lines.
The test takes about 90 minutes.
No preparation is necessary. Check with your health care provider if you are taking any medications.
There is minimal discomfort. You may find cold water in the ear uncomfortable. Brief dizziness (vertigo) may occur during the test.
The test is used to determine whether a balance or nerve disorder is the cause of dizziness or vertigo.
Your doctor may order this test if you have dizziness or vertigo, impaired hearing, or suspected damage to the inner ear from certain medications.
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 418.
Sanders DB, Howard JF Jr. Neuro-otology: laboratory investigations in diagnosis and management of neuro-otological disorders. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 40.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885