Do you say “I Feel Dizzy”. Majority of people will experience at least once in their lifetime. Experiencing dizziness sporadically and not impacting daily life activities, does not call for an immediate appointment with a medical professional. However, if episodes of dizziness, spinning, imbalance are affecting your life, seeking a diagnosis can prevent future issues. Did you know that most audiologists are able to assess dizziness and imbalance and provide answers and next steps? How do they do this? There are multiple tests that they can run. Let’s talk about what to expect and some of tests you will face at one of these appointments!
Balance testing is also referred to as vestibular testing. During this testing, the vestibular structures are being assessed to see if your episodes of dizziness or imbalance are stemming from theses structures. During the test your eyes will be tracked using goggles that have video cameras on them. The eyes are the way the tester can see what is going on with the vestibular system. Therefore, it is important for you to not wear eye make-up that will cause interference with the cameras. Some of your test require your participant, while other you do not have to do anything. No worries though, the tester will let you know what you need to be doing.
Videonystagmography (VNG): This test will require you to wear goggles. You will be asked to track an object on a screen. VNG testing “provides information about how certain parts of the inner ear system and eye reflexes are functioning” (my.clevelandclinic.org).
Rotary chair: This test will require you to sit in a chair that rotates in both directions. During rotary chair, you will be required to wear goggles. While you are spinning around, you will be asked to keep your eyes open. Normal blinking is okay to do. This “ride” moves very slow, so no need to worry about motion sickness.
Calorics: Your eye movement responses will be recorded when warm and cool air and/or water are put into your ear canal. Once again, during this testing you will be wearing goggles.
Video head impulse test (VHIT): Goggles are also worn during this test. During VHIT, the tester will move your head in little motions to the right, left, up and down.
Vestibular evoked myogentic potentials (VEMP): Surprise! This test does not require goggles. During VEMPs, you will be asked to raise head to the left and right which will activate your neck muscles or raise your eyes, which will activate your eye muscles. “VEMP can help us localize the side that may be involved in causing the dizziness or imbalance. (hesofbuffalo.org).
Risk of falls assessment: The tester may also evaluate how likely you are to fall or just how you naturally stand or sit. This help with making the decision if you would be a good candidate for vestibular rehabilitation or physical therapy.
The order of testing will differ as well as what test available. The are more test that are able to assess balance, but these are just the major ones. Talk to a balance professional if you have questions or concerns.