Vestibular (Balance) Assessments At Our Centres
Vertigo, imbalance or dizziness can be a real worry. We provide a comprehensive Vestibular assessment clinic for patients suffering with balance problems to help the referring ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Consultant or Neurologist make an accurate diagnosis. Depending on the results of the tests we can devise a rehabilitation programme for you to work with a physiotherapist.
What is a Vestibular Function Test?
Your balance is controlled by three major inputs:
- Proprioception, that is the sense we get from the ground and in our muscles and joints
- The Vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear.
Your brain processes the information from these three inputs and coordinates our balance. The purpose of the vestibular function tests is to measure how well the vestibular system (the inner ear) is working and to determine whether the dizziness or imbalance is being caused by a problem in the inner ear.
What happens during vestibular function testing?
During a normal verstibular function test, we perform the following:
- Full case history of hearing difficulties.
- Clinical Balance Test
- Eye reflex test.
- Positional tests including Dix-Hallpike. This involves lying in different positions and sitting up and lying down and measuring nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) to see if this is contributing to your dizziness or feelings of vertigo.
- Bi-thermal caloric tests. The final part of the test involves placing cool and warm water in the ear canal for one minute to stimulate the inner ear and measure the response.
- You will be given a full explanation of all the test results on the day by our balance test specialist.
- A full written report with recommendations will be sent to the referring physician or docotr.
Certain medications or substances may alter the vestibular test results. To prevent this from happening, please DO NOT consume any of the following 48 hours prior to your appointment:
- Anti-dizziness or anti-nausea pills
- Sleeping pills or tranquilizers
- Beverages that contain caffeine
- Over the counter allergy or cold medications
DO NOT STOP any mediation for heart/blood pressure disorders, endocrine (thyroid, hormonal) disorders, blood/sugar disorders for diabetes, seizure disorders, anxiety medications, or medications for depression. If you are in doubt, please contact your GP BEFORE YOU STOP taking the medication.
Eat a light meal 3-4 hours prior to the test. If you are a diabetic or have low blood sugar, please follow your regular mealtime routine as well as your normal injections or pills.