Your vestibular system is located in your inner ear and controls your body’s balance. Vestibular problems account for about 33 percent of all dizziness and vertigo symptoms. When a patient experiences chronic or acute dizziness, vestibular exams are the first line in testing and diagnosis.
A patient is administered a number of different exams during the vestibular testing process.
These tests allow doctors to determine if the dizziness is caused by the inner ear. If so, the test results typically identify which specific symptoms the patient is experiencing. Doctors can often provide a diagnosis based on this information. Vestibular tests are considered much more accurate in diagnosing balance problems than physical exams, so they are always recommended as the best place to start for patients with dizziness or vertigo.
In cases where the inner ear is not affecting a patient’s balance, your physician will recommend further diagnostic testing. MRIs are commonly used to diagnose balance problems not associated with the inner ear. Other causes of dizziness include problems in the brain, low blood pressure and anxiety.
Types of Vestibular Exams
Along with VNG and ENG exams, which you can read about in the next section of our website, there are several other types of vestibular tests. These include:
- Rotational Chair Test—During this vestibular test, you will sit in a computerized chair that moves. As the chair spins you around at varying speeds and distances, electrodes or a goggle-mounted video camera will record your eye’s movements in response to corresponding head movements. This test reveals whether your dizziness is due to an inner ear or brain disorder.
- Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP)—You will have several electrodes attached to your neck to record the electrical response of your sternocleidomastoid muscle as you listen to sound through headphones. It determines whether an organ in your inner ear called the saccule and your vestibular nerves are functioning properly.