Vestibular Testing

Our Audiologists and Vestibular Physical Therapists are specially trained to work with patients with balance disorders. The following testing is available at Froedtert Hospital.


The Videonystagmography (VNG) test precisely measures eye movements in order to evaluate the peripheral and central balance systems. Information obtained from the VNG provides diagnostic information about the function of the inner ear and central vestibular systems.

The VNG takes about 90 minutes to perform.  For the test, you will be asked to wear goggles that monitor your eye movements.

VNG Goggles

The test is broken down into three major components:

  1. Ocular motor:  The patient watches a moving target on a light bar.
  2. Positionals:  The patient changes position of their head and body.
  3. Calorics:  Cool and warm air are directed into the patient’s ears in order to measure the peripheral or inner ear balance function.

Rotary Chair Test

Rotary Chair  

The Rotary Chair test is also used to evaluate dizziness/balance problems. The information obtained from the Rotary Chair test supplements the VNG results and helps determine how your inner ear balance system is working.

The Rotary Chair test takes approximately 45 minutes. During the Rotary Chair test, eye movements are precisely measured with goggles while the patient is sitting in a slowly rotating chair in a darkened booth.

A speaker system allows communication with the audiologist outside the booth.

 

Posturography

Posturography Test          Posturography Test

Posturography is a test of balance function that assesses the ability to maintain upright posture (standing up right) and proper gait or manner of walking. Posturography testing provides important information about the ability to effectively maintain balance in the variety of conditions encountered in everyday life.

Three separate functions contribute to our sense of balance: somatosensory, vision, and vestibular.

Somatosensory function refers to our ability to stand quietly and maintain balance on a flat, unmoving surface.

We rely on our visual system to help maintain balance when a standing surface is uneven or unreliable.

The internal reference for balance is our vestibular system. We rely on our vestibular system to maintain balance when a surface is uneven or unreliable (somatosensory) and our vision is unreliable due to darkness or other factors.

Posturography assesses each of these systems in order to determine which may be contributing to a sense of imbalance.

The testing takes approximately 30 minutes and is performed by a vestibular therapist. It is a non-invasive and relatively easy test to perform. Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and socks. Women should wear pants, and refrain from wearing dresses or skirts.
All participants wear a safety harness during testing, which protects the patient if they lose their balance.

Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP)

Although dizziness is common, there are many things that can cause it; sometimes determining the cause can be challenging.  A problem in the inner ear may be the cause of the dizziness.  The VEMP is a computerized test used to measure portions of the vestibular system that may be related to dizziness.

The test takes about one hour to perform. No preparation is required for this test, except that you may want to avoid wearing turtlenecks or tighter clothing around the neck area, because flat recording electrodes (or wires) are taped to the sternum, forehead, and neck.

These electrodes will measure the response of the vestibular system while loud sounds are presented to the ears through small earplugs. 

During the test, you will be asked to lay flat or sit upright on an exam table. You will hear loud sounds through earplugs, and will be asked to raise or turn your head sharply in one direction for about 45 seconds. You may feel a slight strain in the muscles on your neck during the testing, but there is no real discomfort.

If you have severe neck problems that may prevent you from performing the test, please make the audiologist aware. After testing you are free to return to your daily activities.


Learn more about Vestibular Disorders Program.

For other types of testing visit our Basic Audiologic Testing page.

Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-8296
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