What is an Electronystagmogram?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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An electronystagmogram, also known as an electronystagmography, is a test given to observe a condition known as nystagmus. This is the involuntary movement of the eyes. The test can also study normal eye movement and the muscles that control it. Additionally, individuals with balance problems and dizziness may undergo an electronystagmography test. It can be helpful in revealing if the inner ears, eyes, and brain are working normally together to help control balance and stability.

The physician advising the test will generally inform the patient on how to prepare for it. The patient may be advised to fast, or not eat, for a certain number of hours prior to the test. Daily prescription medication dosages may also be altered in the preceding days. Further preparation may include stopping any consumption of alcohol, as it may alter the results of the test.

There can be many reasons for having an electronystagmogram. If a patient has symptoms of dizziness and imbalance, it may be carried out to find abnormalities such as damage in the connecting nerves between the brain, inner ears, and eyes, which could be at the root of such problems. The electronystagmography test is a effective way to detect abnormalities affecting these areas.


Even if it was not an initial symptom leading to the test, some dizziness can occur as a result of having the test done. Nausea may also be present, due to the patient being placed in various positions and changing such positions rapidly. An electronystagmogram may be done in a hospital or doctor's office.

Typically, electronystagmography testing takes place in a dark room. The eyes and ears may be checked first. Electrodes are placed on the face before the test begins. Signals given off by the electrodes will provide the physician with information on any abnormalities that may be present.

The patient will be asked to complete a variety of tasks during an electronystagmogram. Some of these tasks may include keeping the head in place while following a moving point of light with the eyes. Additionally, the patient may be asked to move the body into different positions, including the head from side to side. To test the normalcy of the inner ear, water may be placed into the ear canal while the eye movement is tested.

Side effects are not very common in having an electronystagmogram. The rapid body movements that can be required as part of the test may cause minor back or neck pain. Results of the test are usually provided to the patient as soon as they are available. The doctor can then discuss the findings and address questions and concerns of the patient at that time.



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