Vestibular evaluation

Vestibular evaluation, also known as a balance assessment or vestibular function test, is a series of diagnostic tests performed to assess the function of the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. The evaluation is typically conducted by an audiologist or a healthcare professional with specialized training in vestibular disorders.

The purpose of a vestibular evaluation is to identify any issues or abnormalities within the vestibular system that may be causing symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness, or problems with balance. Some of the common tests included in a vestibular evaluation may include:

  1. Videonystagmography (VNG): This test assesses eye movements in response to specific visual and positional stimuli. It can help determine if the vestibular system is working correctly.

  2. Caloric Testing: Warm or cool air or water is introduced into the ear canal to assess the vestibular response. This test can help identify weaknesses or imbalances between the two ears.

  3. Rotary Chair Test: The patient sits in a computer-controlled rotating chair while eye movements are measured. This test provides information about the function of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR).

  4. Head Impulse Test (HIT): This test involves rapid head movements while the eyes are observed for compensatory movements. It helps assess the function of the VOR and can identify certain types of vestibular disorders.

  5. Posturography: The patient stands on a platform while their body movements and balance responses are measured. This test evaluates the overall stability and balance control.

  6. Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT): Similar to the HIT, but uses video goggles to precisely measure eye movements during head impulses.

  7. Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP): A computerized assessment of balance and postural control using various sensory inputs.

  8. Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP): This test assesses the response of certain muscles in the neck or eyes to sound or vibration stimuli.

By conducting a comprehensive vestibular evaluation, healthcare professionals can accurately diagnose the specific vestibular disorder and develop a tailored treatment plan. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises, lifestyle modifications, medications, or other interventions may be recommended based on the test results and the underlying cause of the balance issues. The goal is to alleviate symptoms, improve balance and spatial orientation, and enhance the patient's overall quality of life.