A patient’s hearing and balance system are in the inner ear. Therefore, all patients with complaints of hearing issues or dizziness may require basic hearing and balance testing, depending upon the suspected diagnosis. At times, some of the testing may need to be repeated to determine the stability or progression of the diagnosis.
Electronystagmography is a series of tests to determine problems within the vestibular (balance) portion of the inner ear. The inner ear and the eye muscles are connected in the brainstem. Due to this connection eye muscle movements can be used to determine the status of the inner ear. Prior to testing, electrodes or googles with cameras are placed around the eyes to record the eye movements. Throughout testing, the eyes may move back and forth (nystagmus), which is recorded and measured.
The test is broken up into 4 different parts: the GANS sensory organization performance test, oculomotor, positional, and caloric testing. The GAN SOP test is looking at your overall posture while moving your feet in different positions. Oculomotor testing consists of the patient following various visual stimuli across a light bar or TV screen. Positional testing requires patients to move their head and body into various positions to determine if positional vertigo occurs. Caloric testing provides information regarding the responsiveness of a part of the vestibular system called the horizontal semicircular canals. This information will help determine how symmetric the responses are between the left and right ear. This testing may cause a temporary sensation of spinning or movement, which is normal. A reduced or absent response indicates a pathology (causes) within the vestibular system.