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Timothy C. Hain, MD Page last modified: December 28, 2014 button Return to testing index

  1. Vestibular tests are tests of function. Their purpose is to determine if there is something wrong with the vestibular portion of the inner ear. If dizziness is not caused by the inner ear, it might be caused by disorders of the brain, by medical disorders such as low blood pressure, or by psychological problems such as anxiety. Recent studies have suggested that vestibular tests are more accurate than clinical examination in identifying inner ear disorders (Gordon et al, 1996). Hearing pathway tests (audiometry, ABR, ECochG) can also be used for the same purpose, and are frequently combined with vestibular tests. In a cost-effectiveness analysis for evaluation for vertigo it was concluded that hearing testing followed by either posturography or ENG (electronystagmography) was the most effective method (Stewart et al, 1999).
  2. To detect central disorders. Recent studies have suggested that internuclear ophthalmoplegia, a central eye movement disorder, is missed by 71% of physicians unaided by quantitative oculomotor testing (Frohman et al, 2003).
  3. To decide if more expensive tests like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are needed. Vestibular testing is more accurate than clinical symptoms in predicting whether neuroimaging tests will be abnormal.(Levy and Arts, 1996). Simple vestibular tests are more effective than MRI at detecting strokes that cause dizziness.
  4. To document objectively vestibular conditions such as BPPV and Perilymph fistula, which commonly occur after head injury, vestibular neuritis, and Gentamicin ototoxicity, which commonly is a side effect of medication. 



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