Testing at the Center for Balance Disorders

The following tests are conducted at the Center for Balance Disorders at Baylor College of Medicine:

Electronystagmography/Videonystagmography Testing

Electronystagmography/Videonystagmography (ENG/VNG) is an examination of eye movements called nystagmus which are provoked by stimulation of the inner ear. The exam is made up of several tests that assess the relationship between certain eye movements and the inner ear. These tests include watching a display of lights, sitting in a chair that gently turns from side to side, lying down in various positions, or having warm and cool water or air put into the ear canal to stimulate the inner ear.

Rotational Chair Testing

Rotating Chair Test
Preparing for a rotating chair test

Rotational chair tests involve sitting in a chair that gently turns from side to side. Corresponding eye movements are recorded via ENG/VNG methods to assess inner ear function. Rotational chair examination allows testing at higher frequencies than standard ENG/VNG assessments and allows for evaluations that replicate real-life movements and situations.

Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials

The center offers vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) testing. This is a relatively new test which can help to identify the specific site of injury to the inner ear or balance nerve. During the examination, small recording electrodes are taped to the neck or muscles around the eyes and shoulders. Sounds are presented to one ear while the patient's head or eyes are held in a certain orientation.

Computerized Dynamic Posturography Platform Testing

The posturography examination requires patients to stand upright on a balance platform. The platform and/or surrounding screen may move. The amount of body sway needed to maintain balance during movements is measured in order to evaluate the sensory and motor components of balance function.

Pressure Sensitivity Testing

During pressure sensitivity testing, the patient stands safely on a moving platform and wears an ear plug that varies the pressure in the outer ear canal. Body sway is measured as the pressure of the outer ear canal is changed. This test is sometimes used to evaluate the possibility of a perilymph fistula (an abnormal opening in the inner ear leading to leakage of fluid).

Electroneurography or Facial Nerve Testing

Electroneurography evaluates acute facial nerve weakness due to Bell's palsy, traumatic injury, or disease. The test determines the percentage of degenerated nerve fibers associated with facial weakness.