Electronystagmography (ENG) is the study of the vestibular function of the eighth cranial nerves, along with their central connections. It depends, however, on intact oculomotor functions of the third, fourth, and sixth cranial nerves, since eye movements are driven by the visual system as well as the vestibular system. The vestibular afferent signals most relevant to ENG arise in the semicircular canals. Hair cells embedded in the cupula of each semicircular canal increase their firing rate in response to deformation of the cilia toward the ampulla, and decrease their firing rate with deformation in the opposite direction. Movement of the endolymph within the canals associated with rotation of the head gives rise to signals related to angular acceleration. Similar hair cells in the otolith organs signal linear acceleration from translational movements of the body or shifts in position with respect to gravity.
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