What can I expect? When you come in for a balance evaluation in our clinic, it is due to your physician wanting to rule out whether your vestibular system is impacting your current symptoms. If you are having vertigo (a spinning sensation) or have been experiencing the inability to move due to falling, it is essential to be evaluated by your primary care provider. There can be many factors affecting your ability to maintain equilibrium. An audiologist is a key team player in the diagnosis of balance disorders. Once the primary care provider has ruled out your medication, heart health, and overall health and well being being a contributor to your balance problems, they may send you to Audiology to rule out the vestibular system.
We will conduct a hearing and balance assessment to determine whether your inner ear balance organs are impacting your equilibrium issues. This includes a standard hearing test, a videonystagmography test, and calorics.
Videonystagmography consists of wearing a set of goggles with an attached infrared camera that tracks the pupil movement. We will do multiple tests including eye movement tasks, body positioning tasks, then an air calorics test. This Air Caloric test includes cool and warm air being directed into each ear separately with a recording of your eye movement during this stimulus. This test may cause some vertigo, but it should not last more than 3 minutes after the testing is completed.
We are here to help. We know that you are suffering when you are dealing with vertigo and imbalance. These symptoms can stop enjoyment of life when you are experiencing them. Our goal is to help your physician move quickly on diagnosis and treatment. Due to this, we will send our results the same day to your physician to help him/her assess your overall symptoms.
How does the vestibular system impact my balance? The vestibular system is one of many parts of our balance system. We use our vision, the feeling in our feet (proprioception), and our vestibular system to sense movement in our environment and on our body. When something goes wrong with any of these or with our cardiac or brain health, we can experience dizziness and imbalance.
The vestibular system is made up of 5 different sensory organs in the inner ear that sense our movement in relation to gravity. These are the anterior semicircular canal, posterior semicircular canal, lateral semicircular canal, utricle, and saccule. If one of these systems is not working appropriately, or if there is something impacting the 8th cranial nerve, our brain receives a mismatch in the information from our vestibular system and our visual and proprioceptive system.
The audiologist will go through a complete hearing and balance assessment should this be requested by your physician. This will rule out the vestibular system as the reason for your inequilibrium.
If you are scheduling an appointment for a balance assessment, call us and complete the balance evaluation form to bring in to your appointment.