Vertigo, Dizziness, and Imbalance

The providers of Owens Ear Center have extensive training in the diagnosis and management of patients with “dizziness”. It is important for patients to have a good understanding of how their inner ear contributes to the overall sense of balance, and how disorders of the inner ear can create symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance. With over 50 years of combined experience in the successful treatment of thousands of patients, our providers have the tools and knowledge of the best surgical and medical regimens to help our balance disorder patients.

The Vestibular System

Our inner ear has two sensory organs: the cochlea (for hearing), and the vestibular system.

The vestibular system is composed of three fluid filled canals and small nerve hair cells that are sensitive to the flow of the fluid within the canals. When we move our head, the fluid within the canals will rotate through the canals, and stimulate the tiny vestibular nerve hair cells. The nerve hair cells generate and electrical signal, which is transmitted through the vestibular nerves to the brain. These signals provide the brain with information about our head position, and also provide vital information to our eyes about changes in the position of our head. In short, the vestibular system tells our eyes how to remain targeted during head movement.

When patients have disorders or weaknesses of the vestibular system, they will experience symptoms of spinning (vertigo), dizziness (disequilibrium), or imbalance. Oftentimes a combination of these symptoms will exist.

The providers of Owens Ear Center work closely with Audiologists to test and assess the function of the vestibular system in patients with complaints of vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance. Neurodiagnostic testing provides vital information regarding the vestibular system, and assists the providers in coming to an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis of the patient’s vestibular condition allows for successful, specific management of vestibular disorders.

At Owens Ear Center, the providers only order tests that are likely to help accurately diagnose the cause of your dizziness. Every test our patients undergo will be explained by a provider, in contrast to some clinics where no provider is actually present during or after testing, and may not even reside in the same city as the testing facility. We strive to provide our patients with direct access to the providers, in order for questions to be answered in a direct and timely fashion.

Instructions for Dizziness Work-up Testing

Videonystagmogram (VNG/ENG)

Your doctor has decided that it would be valuable to order an VNG to evaluate your vestibular system and help diagnose and treat your condition. The vestibular system of the inner ear serves to tell the brain what position the head is in and to help provide the eyes with information about targeting objects while the head is moving. An VNG measures the relative strength of the vestibular system on the two inner ears. This is accomplished by placing a pair of goggles over eyes, and measuring normal movements of the eyes. Then a warm or cold stimulus is applied to ear, and eye movements are measured. Nystagmus is a term that defines the rapid eye movements that occur in inner ear conditions. This test will record any nystagmus and document it.

Preparation for the Test

We ask that patients avoid taking any dizziness medication or antihistamines three days prior to their VNG test. It is preferable if a patient comes for VNG testing with no heavy facial or eye makeup on. It is advisable to have a person come with you for your VNG to help drive you home in case you become dizzy. Typically, patients who undergo VNG will experience vertigo during the test and may have some dizziness that lingers afterwards for twenty to forty minutes. It is extremely rare that somebody would become sick or vertiginous after having an VNG test for a prolonged amount of time. Expect the test to last approximately one hour. You may or may not be scheduled for an appointment to see the doctor the same day as your VNG test. At some point the doctor will review the test and tell you about its findings and how it helps to determine your diagnoses and treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms including dizziness, imbalance, or vertigo call one of our offices today located in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano TX. Our providers and Audiologists will be happy to answer any questions!

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