Ear Center: Electronystagmography (ENG)

About The ENG Test

Electronystagmography (ENG) is a computerized test to quantitatively assess the inner ear balance system (vestibular system) during an evaluation for dizziness. The test is performed in our office by an audiologist who has been specially trained and takes approximately 1 hour.

An ENG is performed with the patient sitting in a reclined examination chair. Stick-on surface electrodes are placed around the eyes. The patient is asked to perform tasks such as watching moving lights on a light bar and being placed in different head and body positions with eyes opened and closed.

An ENG consists of three separate tests:

  1. eye movement testing with reference to moving light targets (vestibulo-ocular tests)
  2. positional testing (otolith testing)
  3. caloric (thermal) testing (ice water irrigations of the ear canals) to quantitate vestibular function and to permit comparisons between the right and left vestibular systems.

It is during the caloric testing that some patients' inner ears may become very stimulated leading to vertigo and weakness. During caloric testing, the audiologist will ask you to perform some mental tasks such as counting backwards from 100, etc.

Because the ENG test stimulates the balance system, you may experience unsteadiness after the test, up to the remainder of the day. Therefore, we recommend that you have a loved one or friend accompany you to the test and that you refrain from driving the day of the ENG.

ENG test results take time to analyze. Therefore, test results are not available on the same day that the test is performed. After the test is analyzed by an audiologist and physician, an audiologist will notify you of the test results.

Please feel free to contact us at (336) 273-9932 concerning any questions that you may have about the ENG test. Ask to speak to an audiologist in our Department of Audiology.

Last revised June 25, 2019