The Neuro-otology Investigation Unit was established to help people with dizziness or balance problems. Neuro-otology testing is performed to document the function of the inner ear (vestibular system) and will be carried out by a specialist balance audiologist.

Balance disorders can cause great discomfort and can be difficult to treat. We can help by working with your specialist to find out what is causing the problem. Once the problem is identified, the most appropriate management for your balance problem can be put in place.

What is involved in neuro-otology testing?

There are different types of assessment for the balance system, and you may undergo some of the following:

  • Hearing test: The hearing organ (cochlea) and the balance organs are both located in the inner ear, and assessment of hearing function may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. In this test you will hear tones of different pitches and you will need to press a button for the sounds you can hear.
  • cVEMP: The activity of the neck muscles is monitored while you lie down and your head is raised off the pillow. Clicking noises are played through headphones during the test.
  • oVEMP: The activity of the eye muscles is monitored while you look up and a device is placed on the forehead which taps lightly.
  • Calorics: Air is inserted into the outer ear for about one minute. This causes fluid to move within the inner ear which results in your eyes also moving.  The eye movements are recorded with a camera.
  • Rotational chair: A special chair is rotated back and forth while a camera records your eye movements. The chair does not make any unexpected or sudden movements and the speed is no faster than what is achieved if you were turned around in an office chair.
  • Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT): Quick but small head movements are performed from side to side and your eye movements are recorded.

Neuro-otology testing is an important step for people with particular dizziness problems. The audiologist understands that some patients may be a little anxious about the tests and will be happy to answer any questions or concerns in your appointment. The audiologist is also available to help you understand more about your hearing and balance.

Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Neuro-Otology Investigation Unit #77
  • Owner: Audiology
  • Last Reviewed: February 22, 2023
  • Next Review: February 22, 2028