Dizziness & Balance
The balance system, also known as the vestibular system, uses our eyes, inner ears, and sensory system to allow us to move about without falling. Equilibrium allows us to stay upright when standing. Our brain coordinates all of the input and tells us where our body is, in relation to gravity. Sensations of lightheadedness or feeling unsteady are common; dizziness is the third most common out-patient complaint. 1
Frequent descriptors of dizziness include feeling “off”, “woozy”, or “just not right”. Some patients also report experiencing a true sensation of vertigo, where the room appears to be spinning. This may even be accompanied by difficulty walking or even getting up. Dizziness can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, and changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
During videonystagmography (VNG) testing, the audiologist records the patient’s eye movements on a computer screen to determine how the balance system is functioning. There are three main parts to the test. Ocular motor testing involves watching and following a moving target on a screen. When positional testing is performed, the audiologist guides the patient into different had and body positions on an exam table. During caloric testing, each ear is stimulated with warm and cool air to tax the balance system and determine each ear’s functionality. The combination of these subtests helps to determine where in the pathway from the ears and eyes up to the brain the balance disturbance is occurring.
Once a diagnosis is reached, physicians can make appropriate treatment recommendations. Possible recommendations may include medication or surgical options.
There are many causes for imbalance. A thorough case history, in conjunction with VNG testing, allows audiologists and physicians to work together to determine the correct diagnosis and treatment options for each patient. For more information, please call our office at 732-280-7855 or visit our website at https://coastalearnoseandthroat.com/