Vestibular Testing Available
Why use Vestibular Testing?
Vestibular tests are tests of function. Their purpose is to determine if there is a pathology of the vestibular portion of the inner ear. If dizziness is not caused by the inner ear, it could be caused by disorders of the brain, medical disorders such as hypoglycemia or by psychological problems such as anxiety. Recent studies have suggested that vestibular tests are more accurate that clinical examination identifying inner ear disorders (Gordon et al, 1996). Hearing pathway tests (audiometry, ABR, DPOAE) can also be used for the same purpose, and are frequently combined with vestibular tests. In a cost-effectiveness analysis for evaluation for vertigo, it was concluded that hearing testing followed by either VNG (video) or ENG (electrode) was the most effective method (Stewart et al, 1999).
VNG Test (Videonystagmography)
VNG is the gold standard for diagnosis of ear disorders affecting one ear at a time. VNG allows visualization of the eyes during all testing for the vestibular test battery. This is easier for patients than electrode placement. Air calorics, instead of water, will be used, which most patients find significantly less invasive. The testing gives the referring physician a clearer picture of the patient experiencing dizziness symptoms.
BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo)
BPPV is a common cause of dizziness. The dizziness experienced is typically a feeling of spinning or whirling after you move your head in certain ways. It can happen when turning in bed, looking up or bending. The spinning (vertigo) usually lasts less than 30 seconds and may be severe. BPPV is an inner ear problem. It usually affects the part of the inner ear called the posterior semicircular canal. It is believed to be caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals. When the head is moved in certain ways, the crystals move and trigger the inner ear sensors to fire. This leads to a brief but often strong sensation of spinning.
BPPV, if present during evaluation, can be treated with Canalith Repositioning Therapy. This is a series of head and body movements. The maneuvers move the calcium crystals out of the posterior canal (where they do not belong). The crystals move into another inner chamber. There they can be absorbed. These maneuvers are now well-established as effective for the most common type of BPPV.