Hearing and Balance Testing

Hearing and Balance Tests


General overview of the hearing and balance testing:

There are a number of conditions for which determining the cause is a difficult challenge. For example, if a patient comes in complaining of ringing ears and/ or feeling dizzy, then it’s quite difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the symptoms. This is because symptoms that have to do with the brain cannot be easily diagnosed as doctors still have a limited understanding of what goes on in the brain and what happens to cause such symptoms. To remedy this, tests have evolved that try to get some answers by looking at how the different brain-related traits function and if they are out of balance. These tests are called hearing and balance tests and are used extensively today to try and isolate the reason behind certain head-related symptoms.

How the service is done:

Hearing and balance testing employs a wide variety of tests that look for any anomalies in the hearing, visual and balance processes to evaluate patients with dizziness, loss of balance and equilibrium disorders such as vertigo. Hearing tests available include:

  • Audiograms to determine basic hearing ability and word recognition Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)
  • Middle ear analysis to evaluate the mechanical functioning of the eardrum and ossicles
  • Auditory brainstem response test (ABR; OR BER, BSER, OR BAER)
  • Central auditory processing evaluations
  • Sound field audiometry
  • Electrocochleography (ECOG)
  • Tinnitus pitch and intensity matching

Balance tests include:

  • Electro/video-nystagmography (ENG OR VNG)
  • Optokinetic (movement of the eyes) testing
  • Rotation tests
  • Video head impulse testing (VHIT)
  • Computerized dynamic posturography
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP)
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials
  • Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP)

In addition to these tests, the doctor may also utilize other tests such as MRI, CAT/CT scans, among others.

What methods are used:

When you come in, you will go through the following process:

  • Consult with the doctor and explain the symptoms you have been experiencing and under what circumstances. The doctor will interview and examine you to better understand the symptoms and rule out any other causes of your symptoms such as an infection or physical blockage of your auditory canal.
  • You will then be scheduled for the tests the doctor feels may be the most effective in explaining your symptoms. Note, you will not have to do all the tests listed here all at once but rather progressively if each set of tests does not yield much diagnostic detail.
  • On the day of your tests you will be subjected to a number of different stimuli using various apparatus to understand better your visual, auditory and balance mechanisms.
  • After the tests are complete, the doctor will discuss the results with you and let you know if you need to take more tests.

Are there any side-effects:

There are little to no side effects to these tests are they are all non-invasive. You may feel fatigued after the tests though, owing to the vigor of some of the tests.

Follow-up treatments or next steps:

The outcomes of the tests will determine the way forward. As mentioned it’s often difficult to determine the cause of the dizziness or vertigo as it could be a problem with the eyes, ears or brain itself. However, through these tests, the doctor will have a better understanding of your situation and offer a way forward.

Contact our office:

To find out more about our Hearing and Balance Testing service, visit L.A. Sinus & Allergy Specialists offices located at 1701 E Cesar Chavez Ave Suite 560, Los Angeles, CA 90033-2425, or book an appointment by calling (323) 226-0022 today.