At this appointment you will see an audiologist who is specifically trained in balance assessment. There are lots of different pieces of information that your brain uses to maintain your balance and information from your inner ears is just one of them, meaning that it can often be difficult to find out exactly what is causing your symptoms. We may be able to give you a definite answer regarding your dizziness however we may need to refer to other professionals who can assess possible factors contributing to the dizziness. Balance assessment appointments usually last for between 60 and 90 minutes and will usually include the following:
This will involve an in-depth discussion about your balance problems and concerns. We will also ask you about your general health, hearing, and other issues which may affect your balance. This discussion can often provide a lot of useful information regarding the origin of the balance problem and help us to select the most appropriate tests for your symptoms.
The tests carried out will be based upon the information you give us regarding your symptoms. Some of the tests that we may do are explained below:
Otoscopy – where we look in your ears
This is to check your ears are free of wax and are healthy.
Tympanometry – Where we test how well your ear drums are moving.
This procedure measures how your ear drum moves to different pressures. We place a soft tip in your ear and you will feel a slight change in pressure.
Audiometry (Hearing test)
This test is to measure the quietest levels you can hear in each ear at different pitches of sound. We measure one ear at a time and ask you to press a button when you hear a sound. If you haven’t had a recent hearing test or if you feel your hearing fluctuates or has changed since the last test, then we may test it again.
We place goggles over your eyes that have a camera within them and will ask you to follow a dot on the screen with your eyes. Although these tests seem a lot like eye tests they actually allow us to assess your balance organs. These tests take about 10 minutes.
We may ask you to move your head, neck, or body into a particular position, or stand still in the same position for 30 seconds. Here we are testing for specific types of common balance problem. This takes about five minutes.
This test allows us to compare how well the left and right balance organs are working on the day of your appointment. In this test, we warm up or cool down your ears one at a time by running some warm or cool water into the ear for about 30 seconds, and catching it in a bowl when it runs back out. We use the camera goggles to record your eye movements during the test and compare your eye movements for each ear. This tells us how well your balance organs are working on the day of the appointment. This test usually lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Discussion of Results and Care Plan
We may be able to discuss the results with you on the day of your appointment or we may need to review the results and they will be explained to you when you return to see your doctor.
We may talk to you about ways you can help with your balance and may discuss balance rehabilitation. Please look at the section on balance rehabilitation for more information.
We will also be able to discuss any concerns you have regarding hearing or tinnitus and discuss management options with you. Depending on your needs we can refer you to other professionals or book further appointments with an Audiologist or Hearing Therapist.
- It is advised that you do not drive after your appointment for an hour or so and that you may like to bring a friend or family member with you as some of the tests may make you feel unsteady for a little while.
- We ask that if you have been prescribed any medication for your balance/dizziness that you stop taking these 36 hours before your appointment as the medicine can affect our test results.
- We also ask that you do not drink any alcohol for 36 hours before your appointment as this can affect our test results.
- We also ask that you do not wear any eye make-up to the appointment as this can affect the image recorded by the camera in the goggles.