What are Common Causes of Dizziness?
Dizziness or vertigo is not a disease; it is a symptom of something else. There are many things that can cause dizziness. These are some common conditions that can provoke dizziness:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
- Blood Pressure changes/ vascular disturbances
- Cervical Vertigo
- Chronic ear infections and cholesteatoma
- CVA/ stroke
- Fistula (hole) in the inner ear labyrinth
- Foreign objects in ear canal, impacted earwax
- Head injury, traumatic brain injury, severe whiplash
- Meniere’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Ototoxic drugs- medicines such as IV antibiotics or some chemotherapies that are poisonous to the ear and/or balance system.
- Panic/ anxiety attacks
- Tumors, acoustic neuromas
- Visual disturbances
What to Expect During Balance Testing?
There is no need to be fearful or worry. If you can keep your eyes open, you can do a balance test. Sometimes patients have a lot of anxiety attached to their dizziness. Get a good night’s sleep if possible prior to testing. Be sure to follow all of the instructions on your pre-balance testing form.
The test is called a VNG or Video Nystagmography because we are actually watching what your eyes do during the test. The eyes are connected to the vestibular system through a reflex pathway, so eye movements on different tests can tell us where in the balance system the problem is occurring, what is causing the problem, and how vision and sensory input are impacting the functional balance system. The patient wears a type of visor for the first part of the test, where they are just tracking different targets on a light bar. The second phase of the test is completed with the patient wearing what looks like a scuba goggle over their eyes. There is a special camera inside the goggle that records the eyes in the dark.
The audiologist will conduct the entire test with you and be able to discuss your test results with you to answer questions.
How are Hearing and Balance Related?
Both the hearing and balance organs are housed in the inner ear. The semicircular canals and otolithic organs are known as the vestibular labyrinth. Sometimes both the hearing and balance organs can be affected by disease. A full hearing evaluation is commonly ordered along with a vestibular evaluation to get a picture of the “whole ear.”