With such a wide range of hearing and balance disorders, many of which have similar symptoms, it’s important for an audiologist to make an accurate diagnosis so they can prescribe a successful treatment plan. Diagnostic testing plays an important role in determining the condition responsible for a patient’s suffering.
Studies indicate vestibular testing is extremely thorough and accurate in identifying inner ear disorders. Vestibular testing is also helpful in determining whether additional diagnostic testing, such as an MRI, is needed. A battery of tests is administered in most cases.
At Hearing Services of Santa Barbara, we offer videonystagmography – more commonly known as VNG – testing to determine the presence of abnormal eye movement, which helps see if there is a disruption in the balance system.
VNG testing involves a series of tests during which time a patient wears infrared goggles which track and record their eye movements. The testing occurs in three sections: optokinetics, positionals and calorics.
During optokinetic testing, a patient will track an object on a television screen using only their eyes. This testing allows the audiologist to determine if there is an issue in the central vestibular system such as the brain causing the patient’s dizziness/vertigo.
During positional testing, the audiologist places the patient in different positions – head to the side, laying back, laying on the side and completing the Dix-Hallpike maneuver to test for dislodged crystals in the patient’s inner ears.
During caloric testing, the audiologist puts water in the patient’s ears to elicit nystagmus, or eye movements. This test provides insight to both central and peripheral pathologies, and therefore provides a significant amount of information to the audiologist.
After testing, your referring physician will determine if further testing is needed and determine your course of treatment.
Call Hearing Services of Santa Barbara at (805) 967-4200 for more information or to schedule an appointment.