Vestibular Disorders and Testing

You use your vestibular system to keep your balance, maintain posture and keep your head and body stable while moving. Your vestibular system in your inner ear provides your brain with information about motion, head position and your body’s position in relation to surrounding space.

Vestibular Disorder Symptoms 

  • Dizziness 
  • Spinning sensation 
  • Loss of equilibrium 
  • Headaches 
  • Fullness of the ears and head 
  • Deconditioning 
  • Muscle tension

Vestibular Testing

These tests help determine the type and extent of vestibular disorder you are experiencing. One or more of the following tests may be recommended:

  • Electronystagmography/Videonystagmography (ENG/VNG) - This test evaluates how the vestibular system affects balance by tracking eye movements with infrared goggles as you follow a moving light with your eyes. During the test, you will sit and lie in specific positions.
  • Rotary Chair Test - This 30-minute test involves sitting in a computer-driven chair in a dark booth. The chair’s gentle rotations stimulate your inner balance system and cause eye movements which are recorded with electrodes and infrared goggles.
  • Positional Testing - This test records the amount of eye motion that occurs when you move your head and your whole body as opposed to just your eyes. For example, you may be instructed to turn your head quickly to one side, or you may be asked to sit up quickly after you have been lying down.
  • Caloric Testing - During this test, your ear canals are irrigated with warm and cool water to cause a temperature change which creates measurable eye movements.
  • Warm Air/Cool Air Caloric Test - This test involves introducing warm or cool air into the ear canal. If no problem exists, your eyes will move involuntarily to this stimulus.
  • Dix-Hallpike Test - You will be safely lowered so that your neck is extended 30 degrees below horizontal and you are face up. A side-lying test may be used if the Dix-Hallpike cannot be easily performed.

Vestibular Disorder Treatment

These test results are used to develop a customized and individualized treatment plan that will help resolve the vestibular symptoms you’re experiencing.