Diagnosing a balance disorder can be a complicated procedure. Since dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of many conditions, it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause. Your doctor may perform a series of audiologic, vestibular and movement tests depending on your symptoms. Identifying the underlying cause and the type of balance disorder are both important in successful treatment.
Treatment for a balance disorder depends on its cause. Treating the underlying cause can eliminate balance problems for many people. For others, balance training exercises and life changes can help relieve symptoms. Surgery may be recommended for patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled by more conservative methods. Managing these complex conditions requires inter-disciplinary care.
Videonystagmography (VNG) is used to determine if inner ear functions are the cause of balance disorders. VNG is a series of tests that examine the involuntary movement of the eyes known as nystagmus. The movements are recorded through infrared cameras in the form of goggles placed over the eyes. VNG is one of the only tests that can determine if the problem is unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears).
Dynamic Platform Posturography
Dynamic Platform Posturography (DPP) is a test performed to evaluate balance. The patient stands on a platform attempting to remain completely motionless. Over the course of the test, the platform will be moving in a number of different directions. The patient will keep his or her eyes open for portions of the test and closed for other portions.
Auditory Evoked Potentials
Auditory evoked potentials, also known as auditory brainstem response (ABR), is a diagnostic test performed to evaluate neurological functioning and identify problems with hearing and/or the nervous system. This test may also be performed on patients suffering from brain injury or various speech disorders. Auditory evoked potentials is safe for all patients, with no associated risks.
You will remain in a reclined position during the test. The technician places electrodes on your scalp and earlobes. You will hear a series of clicks and tones during auditory evoked potentials and your brain’s response to each noise is recorded onto the electrodes.
Electrocochleagraphy (ECoG) is a diagnostic procedure that measures electrical potentials within the inner ear by stimulating sounds. This procedure may be performed to determine if there is an excessive amount of fluid pressure on the inner ear, and is also effective in diagnosing Meniere’s disease. During the ECoG procedure, several electrodes will be placed on the head, while a microphone and earphone will be placed inside the ear. A series of clicking noises will begin as the electrodes measure the body’s natural response. This procedure can be performed in your doctor’s office and takes about 40 minutes.
Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), a common form of vertigo caused by calcium particles in the canals of the inner ear. Patients with BPPV experience a brief sensation of tilting or spinning when neither is actually occurring. This often occurs when lying down or turning in bed. To diagnose BPPV, a physical exam is done, along with a test of the nervous system to detect communication issues between the nerves and the brain. While BPPV sometimes goes away on its own, recurrence is possible.
The most effective treatment for BPPV is the Epley maneuver or canalith repositioning. The patient’s head is placed back in different positions to move the particles back where they belong.
We partner with the Eisenhower Balance Institute, which is a premier site for the evaluation of a patient’s candidacy for balance therapy. Using the Balance Master SMART EquiTest system to assess each patient, specialists there can create balance therapy programs to meet each individual’s particular needs.
We are a distributor of Dizzy Stop, an all-natural supplement that can provide relief from the symptoms of balance disorders including nausea, dizziness and motion sickness. Formulated from herbs, it is a safe, effective remedy that does not cause drowsiness. More information is available at Dizzy Stop
Those who suffer from repeat ear infections or fluid in the ear may benefit from ear tubes. Ear tubes are plastic inserts that are surgically placed in the eardrum to help air enter the middle ear, allow fluid drainage, prevent future buildup of fluid and restore hearing. Most patients experience a significant reduction in the number of ear infections from this treatment, as well as relief from hearing loss and associated symptoms.