Dizzy? Falling Down? Check Out Your Balance with VNG Testing

If you have a tendency to fall down, or experience regular dizziness, unsteadiness, or a sense of spinning, moving, or floating, the culprit may be your inner ear.

Your sense of balance is primarily controlled by the vestibular system, an intricate structure deep inside your ear. Vestibular dysfunctions, or inner ear disorders, lead to symptoms like dizziness and falling, and they affect over 60 million men and women in the U.S.

Have you ever experienced vertigo—the sense that the room is spinning around you, or that you’re whirling around in space? An inner ear disorder might be to blame.

Thankfully, there’s a way to get your inner ear and sense of balance checked out at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, and while it’s a very long name, the process for treatment is actually quite simple. It’s called Videonystagmography Testing.

The “VNG test” for short accurately diagnoses inner ear disorders so that we may determine the source of the issues you’re experiencing, determine the best possible treatment, and get you standing back up on your own two feet.

How VNG Testing Works

This may sound counterintuitive, but the balance mechanisms in your inner ear are connected to the muscles in your eye via neural circuits. So don’t be surprised that the VNG test includes an examination of your eye movement—it’s all linked.

At St. Augustine, you’ll put on a pair of goggles with a camera attached, and the camera will record the quick jerks of your eye during a series of varied activities. The VNG test will also detect small eye jerks that are the result of inner ear disorders.

Next, the Technician will check your balance mechanism with a series of activities that include shaking your head, glancing between two points, following moving lights with your eyes, lying in specific positions, and quickly sitting up, among other physical movements.

The test concludes by examining the way your inner ear’s balance mechanisms respond to stimulation. Warm and cool air will be gently put into your ear canal, and the response frin your ear muscles will be monitored.

Why the VNT Test is Unique

VNG (let’s say it again: Videonystagmography!) is the only test that can tell the difference between a problem in one ear vs. a problem in both ears.

How Should I Prepare for the VNG Test?

To ensure you have the best possible VNG testing experience at SAENT, make sure you do the following:

  • Dress comfortably.
  • No eye makeup (no eyeliner, no eye shadow, no mascara!).
  • Don’t drink any form of alcohol for 48 hours before the test.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything (except water) for 3 hours before the test, unless you’re diabetic.
  • Don’t smoke for 3 hours before the test.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages—coffee, tea, soda—for 12 hours before the test.
  • Certain medications must be avoided before the test, such as sleeping pills, anti-vertigo medications, tranquilizers, diuretics, sedatives, barbiturates, anti-depressants, anti-nausea medications, antihistamines, narcotics, anti-anxiety medications, and pain medication.

Please discuss time frame, specific medications, etc. with your physician. Don’t discontinue prescription medications before consulting with the doctor who prescribed them to you!

Photo attribute: www.nashua.edu