Our inner ear comprises complex organs for both hearing and balance. Our vestibular system is one of three systems in our body regulating postural stability. We offer diagnostic testing that can help diagnose your condition that may be contributing to your dizziness of imbalance. Below are some examples of the testing we offer.
A videonystagmography (VNG) evaluates the function of the inner ear and its neurological pathways. Balance is maintained by communication between different systems in our body, most notably our vestibular system and our vision. During a VNG evaluation we will monitor your eye movements with the use of infrared video goggles. During the evaluation you will be asked to track visual targets (ocular-motor testing), and assume different head / body positions (positional testing). The final test involves stimulation of the vestibular system (caloric testing) in order to compare the functionality of the balance system.
Approximate test time: 1 hour
Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP)
The Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potention (VEMP) evaluation is designed to measure the vestibular portion of the auditory nerve. The vestibular portion can be be measured during contraction of certain neck muscles while listening to an auditory stimulus. Electrodes will be placed on your forehead and neck to monitor the responses of the vestibular nerve. During the testing, you will be asked to lie down and briefly hold your head in an elevated position during which time an auditory stimulus will be presented to one ear at a time.
Approximate test time: 10 minutes
The Electocochleography (ECochG) is used to help diagnose conditions such as Meniere’s disease or endolymphatic hydrops. It may also be useful in diagnosing vestibular migraine or other central vestibular disorders. As in the VEMP and ABR, electrodes will be used to pick up neurological responses to an auditory stimuls. You will be asked to lie down and relax (or sleep if possible) while listening to an auditory click stimulus.
Approximate test time: 10 minutes
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) FOR VESTIBULAR TESTING
WILL THIS TESTING MAKE MY DIZZINESS WORSE?
We understand the last thing a person suffering from dizziness wants is to experience more, unnecessary dizziness. This is why your comfort is as important to us as obtaining answers as to why you are dizzy or off-balance. A normal, healthy reaction to the final portion of testing is a mild perception of motion. During the caloric portion of the VNG, we stimulate the vestibular system by irrigating air into your ear canals. This essentially creates a simulation of motion within your vestibular system. Some patients may experience mild dizziness while this test is being administered, but this is expected to pass within 1-2 minutes. Many patients do not experience this dizziness. Your comfort is very important to us and we take measures to minimize this sensation. While the test may produce mild dizziness (a normal reaction), it will not worsen your condition. This is a necessary step to understanding why are you experiencing your symptoms.
HOW LONG DOES THE TEST TAKE?
Vestibular testing can take up to 2 hours. It depends on your mobility and the number of tests ordered. Plan on your evaluation taking between 1 and 2 hours. Save time by completing the questionnaire and patient intake form before arrival by downloading the documents from the "Downloadable Forms" page on our website.
CAN YOU TREAT MY DIZZINESS OR IMBALANCE?
That would depend on the origin of your symptoms and the nature of your condition. There are some forms of dizziness, for example Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV), that are treatable at the time of your visit. Our Doctors of Audiology are trained to identify when this treatment is necessary and which treatment to administer.
DO I NEED A DRIVER?
Obviously if your physician has instructed you to refrain from driving because of your symptoms, then yes, you need a driver. For all others, be prepared to wait at least 15 minutes following your test as you may experience a mild sensation of motion during our evaluation. If you do plan to drive yourself, please have someone in mind that you can call if you do end up needing a driver.
WILL I GET MY RESULTS AT THE TIME OF TESTING?
Results will be forwarded to the referring physician following your appointment. It is important to follow-up with your doctor to receive the results and their recommendation for treatment.
DO I NEED TO STOP ANY MEDICATIONS BEFORE MY TEST?
There are many medications we ask you to refrain from taking up to 48 hours before testing. A VNG instruction form is available in our "downloadable forms" section of this website. In this document we tell you which medications to stop before testing, what to wear, and food/drink considerations prior to testing. Please download this form if you did not receive one at the time you scheduled the appointment.