With such a wide range of hearing and balance disorders, many of which have similar symptoms, it’s important for an audiologist to make an accurate diagnosis in order to come up with a successful treatment plan. Diagnostic testing plays an important role in determining the condition responsible for a patient’s suffering.
Types of Diagnostic Tests
There are a number of diagnostic tests available. Here are some of the most common:
- Videonystagmography. This test measures eye movements to evaluate the inner ear and central motor functions. It can determine whether a vestibular disorder is the cause of a balance problem, and where one or both ears are affected.
- Posturography. This balance test measures the effectiveness of the somatosensory system, vestibular system, and vision to determine which area(s) to focus on when treating a balance disorder.
- Electrocochleography. This test is used to determine whether there is excess fluid in the inner ear by measuring the electrical currents generated by sound stimulation, and can help with the diagnosis of Meniere’s disease and other balance and hearing disorders.
- Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP). VEMP testing is used to determine whether the saccule (an inner ear organ) and vestibular nerves are functioning properly. Electrodes are attached to the neck and sounds are transmitted through a pair of headphones. The electrical response of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck is recorded.
These diagnostic tests are non-invasive, painless, and can help us diagnose and evaluate a variety of hearing and balance disorders.