How It Feels
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:
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Taking some medicines, such as stimulants (including caffeine),
sedatives, and medicines to help vertigo.
- Too many movements of the head or other eye movements, such as
- Not being able to do what is asked during the test. Medical
conditions that affect attention, poor eyesight, or cause sleepiness can affect
the test results.
What To Think About
- At some centers you can't have an electronystagmogram if you
have a pacemaker because the tool that measures eye movements can affect
- Because an electronystagmogram cannot find some inner ear
problems, a normal result does not mean an inner ear condition is not
- To check for hearing loss or
tinnitus, other tests such as audiometry or an auditory brain stem response (ABR) test may be done. If a tumor or stroke is
suspected in a certain part of the brain, a
CT scan or
MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis. For more
information, see the topics
CT Scan of the Head and Face, and
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Head.