Videonystagmography

A videonystagmography (VNG) test uses a special set of goggles with a camera to record your eye movements. It looks for a specific type of eye movement called nystagmus. Your healthcare provider may order this test if you have symptoms of an inner ear disorder.

Overview

What is a videonystagmography?

A videonystagmography (VNG) is a test that evaluates your eye movements. It looks for a specific type of eye movement called nystagmus. Nystagmus happens when your eyes move uncontrollably up and down or side to side. These movements may be rapid or slow.

You may get nystagmus briefly when you move your head in certain directions. But if you get nystagmus when you’re sitting still or for long periods, it could point to an inner ear (vestibular) disorder.

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When is a VNG needed?

You may need a VNG test if you have symptoms that could point to an inner ear disorder, such as:

What does a VNG test diagnose?

Healthcare providers use VNG tests to diagnose vestibular disorders, including:

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What is the difference between a VNG and an ENG test?

A VNG test uses special goggles and infrared cameras. An electronystagmography (ENG) uses small electrodes placed around your eyes.

Both VNGs and ENGs give your healthcare provider similar information about your vestibular nerve and inner ear function.

Who performs a VNG?

Several specialists may perform a VNG test, including:

  • Audiologists, physicians specializing in hearing and balance disorders.
  • Otolaryngologists, physicians specializing in conditions that affect the ear, nose and throat.
  • Neurologists, physicians specializing in the brain and nervous system.
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Test Details

How does a VNG test work?

In a VNG test, you sit in a dark exam room wearing a special set of goggles. The goggles have a camera in them that records your eye movements.

Your healthcare provider asks you to watch lights moving on a TV screen or move your head and body in certain positions. Your healthcare provider may also send small bursts of warm or cold water or air into your ears. The goggles record how your eyes move in response to these different actions.

How do I prepare for a VNG test?

Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions to prepare for a VNG test. Most people don’t need to do anything special.

Tell your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you take. You may have to stop taking certain medicines for a brief period before the test.

What should I expect during a VNG test?

On the day of the test, you sit in the exam room and put on the goggles. Then, your healthcare provider guides you through the three parts of the test:

  • Ocular testing: You watch different dots or flashes of light while keeping your head still.
  • Positional testing: Your healthcare provider instructs you to move your head or body to different positions.
  • Caloric testing: Your healthcare provider sends small bursts of warm or cool air or water into each ear. These bursts of air or water should cause nystagmus.

A VNG test usually lasts around 60 minutes.

What should I expect after a VNG test?

You may feel slightly dizzy during and immediately after the test. Usually, dizziness goes away quickly. If it lingers, you’ll need someone to drive you home.

Results and Follow-Up

What do the results of a VNG test mean?

You may have an inner ear or balance disorder if your eyes don’t move as expected during the VNG test. Your healthcare provider may order more follow-up tests or offer treatment options depending on your results.

Additional Details

Is a VNG test uncomfortable?

You may feel some discomfort during a VNG test, but it’s usually minimal. You may feel slightly dizzy after the test, too. You may also have some discomfort from wearing the goggles for an extended period. These symptoms usually go away quickly.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A videonystagmography (VNG) is a test to evaluate your eye movements that relate to your vestibular (inner ear balance system). Your healthcare provider may recommend a VNG if they suspect you have an inner ear disorder. You may have an inner ear or balance disorder if your eyes don’t move as expected during the VNG test.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/28/2022.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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