School of Communication

What is EEG?

Child with EEG
Child sitting in chair with EEG cap and looking a computer monitor.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a method for looking at brain waves. EEG measures the electrical activity of the brain at the surface of the scalp. EEG recordings are commonly used in many research studies and in hospitals throughout the world.

What should I do to prepare?

  • Do not have a big meal or drink a lot before the EEG.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.

What happens in the EEG?

  • Your child is asked to sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Your child will be fitted with an elastic cap. Sensors on the cap that look like white pieces of plastic will be filled with gel.
  • The scalp under each sensor will be tapped to gently move hair or remove dead skin. This is important so that we get a clear signal to the EEG.
  • Sensors will also be taped behind the ears, and on the skin near the eyes to monitor eye movements and blinking. These will be prepared just like all the other sensors.
  • Your child will be asked to look at a computer screen and/or listen to speakers.
  • Your child will be asked to make responses to words by pressing buttons.
  • At the end of the study, the tape and the sensors will be removed. The gel will be wiped off using a tissue. Some gel may remain in your child’s hair, but this can be removed by rinsing with water.

How do we prepare for your child’s EEG?

  • In order to reduce the potential risk of infection, all gel-related supplies are sterilized and disposable, and the cap and sensors are washed, sterilized, and dried before each use.
  • All staff applying sensors are trained extensively to minimize risk that skin is scraped.
  • Staff are also trained to make this a fun and comfortable experience for your child!