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Balance Testing

Balance testing plays a crucial role in diagnosing various balance and hearing disorders.

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"I was a bit nervous to have my hearing and balance tested. However, the doctors and staff made me feel comfortable. It was a comprehensive analysis of my hearing and balance. I am very grateful for the care that the doctors took in addressing all of my hearing and balance issues."
James E.

Balance testing plays a crucial role in diagnosing various balance and hearing disorders. It involves a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s vestibular function, vision, and hearing. By analyzing the results of balance testing, healthcare professionals can formulate an apt treatment plan.

What is Balance Testing?

Balance testing refers to a series of tests conducted to assess a person's vestibular function, hearing, and vision when a balance disorder is suspected. Balance disorders can affect individuals of all ages, but they are more common among older adults. These disorders can lead to feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness, or vertigo, and can significantly impair a person's quality of life.

Balance testing is typically performed by professionals like audiologists or otolaryngologists who specialize in diagnosing hearing loss and balance disorders. The test results help these professionals identify the root cause of the balance issues and propose an effective treatment plan.

The Importance of Balance Testing

Balance disorders can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as vertigo, dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and difficulties in walking or climbing stairs. These symptoms can significantly affect an individual's daily activities and overall quality of life.

By conducting balance tests, healthcare professionals can accurately diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms and recommend effective treatment strategies. This can significantly improve a patient's quality of life and reduce their risk of falls and other accidents.

Common Balance Disorders

Numerous balance disorders can be diagnosed through balance testing. Some of the most common ones include:

  1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This is the most common cause of vertigo in adults. It is characterized by a spinning sensation when the head moves in certain ways.
  2. Labyrinthitis: This disorder can cause temporary hearing loss and dizziness due to the irritation and swelling of the inner ear, usually from a cold or flu.
  3. Meniere's disease: This disorder is characterized by vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. It occurs when there is an excessive buildup of fluid in the vestibular system.
  4. Vestibular Neuritis: This involves the inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which carries signals from the inner ear to the brain. It is usually caused by a virus and its main symptoms are nausea and vertigo.
  5. Perilymph Fistula: This condition occurs when fluid from the inner ear leaks into the middle ear, causing an unsteady feeling, dizziness, and nausea.

Types of Balance Testing

There are several types of balance testing, each designed to evaluate different aspects of balance and hearing. Some of the most common types include:

  1. Computerized Dynamic Posturography: This test measures how well the patient can maintain balance while standing. It helps identify whether a balance disorder is caused by a problem with the inner ear, eyes, or nerve signals from the feet and legs.
  2. Electronystagmography or Videonystagmography Tests: These tests measure involuntary eye movements, known as nystagmus, to evaluate the functioning of the inner ear.
  3. Electrocochleography: This test measures the electrical currents generated by sound stimulation, helping diagnose conditions like Meniere's disease.
  4. Rotary Chair Test: This test measures the coordination between the eyes and inner ear, helping maintain balance.
  5. Tilt-table Testing: This test evaluates how the body responds to changes in position, particularly moving from lying down to standing up.

Procedure of Balance Testing

Balance testing procedures may vary depending on the type of test being conducted. However, most balance tests involve the patient sitting in an exam chair in a dark room, wearing special goggles to record eye movements. The patient is then asked to follow a light on a screen with their eyes, move their head and body into different positions, or undergo warm and cool air stimulation in one ear at a time.

Certain balance tests may make the patient feel dizzy or nauseous, but these feelings usually subside within a few minutes.

Balance Testing in Phoenix

Balance testing plays a vital role in diagnosing a wide range of balance and hearing disorders. By accurately diagnosing these conditions, healthcare professionals can formulate an effective treatment plan to improve the patient's quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of a balance disorder, consider seeking professional help and undergoing balance testing at a trusted audiology clinic like Southwest Balance.

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Conveniently located near the intersection of 7th Street and Indian School Road.

Southwest Balance, Dizziness & Ear Institute (formerly Arizona Balance & Hearing Aids)

4004 N 7th St.Phoenix, AZ 85014