Balance Laboratory Testing
Painting of the inner ear, inspired by Professor David Moore's research at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham, England. Artist: Dr. Lizzie Burns © Medical Research Council, UK. Used with permission.
Patients suffering from dizziness can receive specialized testing to diagnose balance and orientation disorders. The standard tests include video- or electro-nystagmography (VNG/ENG) with head rotation, rotatory testing, and posturography. These tests are performed automatically on all patients referred for balance testing, unless special requests are made by your physician, or limitations are imposed by insurance. Tests are performed by a trained technician and interpreted by the Lab Director,Gary D. Paige, M.D., Ph.D. A written report is then sent to your doctor within one week.
What to Know Before Your Visit
Video- or Electro-Nystagmography (VNG/ENG) with Head Rotation
During the VNG/ENG test, your eye movements are measured as you track lights on a screen, shake your head, and perform postural positioning tasks. Another test involves having cool and warm air gently passed through the ear. The purpose of this test is to stimulate the balance organs of the inner ear and determine how well your balance system is working. The VNG/ENG test takes approximately one hour. All of these tests are safe and non-invasive.
Rotatory testing, in which you are gently oscillated back and forth on a motorized chair, is sometimes performed. A simplified head shake version is included in the VNG/ENG.
Posturography will directly measure your ability to maintain balance. You will stand on a platform with a landscape screen around you. You are then presented with different conditions to determine how steadily you can stand. This test takes 15-20 minutes.