SUMMARY Rodent vestibular afferent neurons offer several advantages as a model system for investigating the significance and origins of regularity in neuronal firing interval. Their regularity has a bimodal distribution that defines regular and irregular afferent classes. Factors likely to be involved in setting firing regularity include the morphology and physiology of the afferents' contacts with hair cells, which may influence the averaging of synaptic noise and the afferents' intrinsic electrical properties. In vitro patch clamp studies on the cell bodies of primary vestibular afferents reveal a rich diversity of ion channels, with indications of at least two neuronal populations. Here we suggest that firing patterns of isolated vestibular ganglion somata reflect intrinsic ion channel properties,which in vivo combine with hair cell synaptic drive to produce regular and irregular firing.