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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2019 Jan;66(1):150-158. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2018.2835778. Epub 2018 May 11.

Dry-Contact Electrode Ear-EEG.



Ear-EEG is a recording method in which EEG signals are acquired from electrodes placed on an earpiece inserted into the ear. Thereby, ear-EEG provides a noninvasive and discreet way of recording EEG, and has the potential to be used for long-term brain monitoring in real-life environments. Whereas previously reported ear-EEG recordings have been performed with wet electrodes, the objective of this study was to develop and evaluate dry-contact electrode ear-EEG.


To achieve a well-functioning dry-contact interface, a new ear-EEG platform was developed. The platform comprised actively shielded and nanostructured electrodes embedded in an individualized soft-earpiece. The platform was evaluated in a study of 12 subjects and four EEG paradigms: auditory steady-state response, steady-state visual evoked potential, mismatch negativity, and alpha-band modulation.


Recordings from the prototyped dry-contact ear-EEG platform were compared to conventional scalp EEG recordings. When all electrodes were referenced to a common scalp electrode (Cz), the performance was on par with scalp EEG measured close to the ear. With both the measuring electrode and the reference electrode located within the ear, statistically significant (p < 0.05) responses were measured for all paradigms, although for mismatch negativity, it was necessary to use a reference located in the opposite ear, to obtain a statistically significant response.


The study demonstrated that dry-contact electrode ear-EEG is a feasible technology for EEG recording.


The prototyped dry-contact ear-EEG platform represents an important technological advancement of the method in terms of user-friendliness, because it eliminates the need for gel in the electrode-skin interface.


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