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Dizziness is a common health complaint. About 40 percent of Americans will experience some form of dizziness or balance difficulty, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Dizziness can be caused by a virus, head injury or another condition, such as benign positional vertigo. A vestibular evaluation can help your physician diagnose what’s causing your dizziness and determine the correct treatment. Videonystagmography (VNG) and Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP) are non-invasive, painless tests that may be used to evaluate the cause of your dizziness.

VNG tests the function of each inner ear as well as the coordination of eye movements. Eye movements are recorded with a small infrared camera while you watch a moving light. At the same time, you’ll move into different positions while cool and warm air are gently blown into each ear. You’ll be given a list of medications to avoid prior to testing to ensure accurate results.

VEMP tests a specific part of the inner ear that gives your body information about acceleration and vestibular nerve function. It also provides information about disorders that cause dizziness when you hear a loud sound. For the test, electrodes are placed on your face and neck, and you’ll be asked to turn your head or look up while you listen to a series of clicks.

Who is a good candidate?

  • Patients who have issues with vertigo, dizziness or imbalance, particularly when the cause is unknown.
  • Patients who have a known cause of dizziness or take medication that can cause damage to the vestibular system and who need monitoring.
  • Patients whose dizziness has persisted for longer than a month.

As we age, balance issues become more common, but dizziness can happen at any age. These tests are best suited for those who are 10 years old or older.

Goals of testing include:

  • Determining if dizziness is coming from the ear or the brain
  • Determining if dizziness is vestibular or non-vestibular
  • Narrowing down the diagnosis so that a treatment plan can be initiated.

Mary Free Bed uses a team approach for evaluating and treating balance disorders. The VNG and VEMP testing is completed by an audiologist who works closely with a neurotologist to properly interpret the test results and make appropriate recommendations. We share this information with your treatment team if vestibular rehabilitation is recommended.