Vestibular Testing -Daniel Pancy

Take a few minutes and remember why Vestibular Testing is so important. Vertigo can be caused by many health issues. Vertigo is a symptom. In order to discover the reason behind the vertigo, tests must be done. They vary from CT scans, MRI’s, checking for MS, TMJ, or BPPV (crystals dislodged in the semicircular canals).

There are two ways to look at vestibular testing which are important. Remember these tests are designed to induce vertigo. With that being said:

1. The vertigo that was induced is actually a good thing. It means some or all of your vestibular system is working.

2. If little or no vertigo was induced, means little or none vestibular functioning is left.

Measurements of vertigo/nystagmus are taken for both ears and the results are given in percentages of how much vestibular functioning remains in each ear. 100% would mean you have a normal functioning vestibular system in that ear, while possibly only 60% in the other, meaning 40% of vestibular functioning in that ear has been damaged. For example if you had your vestibular nerve destroyed either chemically or through surgery, your score would be 0%, hence meaning no vestibular functioning remains.

These tests are unpleasant but extremely important to discover the reason behind the vertigo.

No one ever said “Oh sign me up for that water boarding thing.” (Caloric test with water or air)

No one ever said. “I think I my want to be an astronaut, so could you strap me in chair, put goggles on me in the dark, close the door thing and spin me around in different directions.” (Rotation Chair test)

No one ever said “Do you have a thingy that I could like maybe practice bungee jumping, or rock climbing, like with a harness or something.” (Moving Platform Posturography, also called Computerized Dynamic Posturography)

Equitest dynamic posturography machine developed by Neurocom Inc.
Bertec CDP/IVR. This device is termed the “next generation” of dynamic posturography.

Let’s remember again why these tests are so important; to determine the cause of your vertigo. Yes, they can be scary, unpleasant, unnerving, gut pounding, or even anxiety building. Are they necessary? In my opinion, most definitely. Why would you not want to know the reason or cause, or how much vestibular functioning you have left. This information is important in developing a treatment plan, options, goals, to ease some or maybe most of the symptoms of having a vestibular disorder.

Many people visit this site for information and support, some for the very first time and maybe haven’t been diagnosed yet with a vestibular disorder. It’s frustrating, remember back when it all started with your symptoms? Remember thinking what’s wrong with me? Remember how scary it was? That’s my frustration with comments about vestibular testing, “never doing that again”, “no way“, or “I’ll get sick”. Yes you might get dizzy, get sick, not feel well afterwards; but those are important findings to make a diagnosis.

Let’s remember that we are here to be supportive and not to scare people away from getting the help that may be found through vestibular testing. Let’s remember no one is the same with any vestibular disorder. No one has the same exact symptoms. Finally let’s remember we are all in this together, so let’s try to make it a little bit easier for those that might not have had the same experiences as you with vestibular testing; let alone those which haven’t begun testing or the that haven’t even heard about vestibular testing.

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