“Vestibular Testing,” by Dr. Frank Brettschneider

The ear comprises many small parts, many of which are responsible for more than just hearing. The vestibular portion of the ear, for example, controls one’s sense of balance. When it is damaged or its normal function is impaired, patients can experience dizziness and vertigo. To diagnose vestibular ear problems, ear-nose-and-throat specialists often run a variety of tests, collectively known as vestibular testing.

One of these tests, Electronystagmography (ENG), tracks eye movement relative to head position to identify what part of the ear may be the problem. Electrocochleography (ECOG) tests hearing through a small electrode in the ear canal, identifying any hearing loss that may be related to the patient’s dizziness. Finally, the rotating-chair test identifies whether dizziness is a brain or an ear disorder; those with ear disorders are measurably less dizzy while in motion than healthy individuals.

While dizziness can result from many different conditions, testing the ear will help to determine whether the problem is symptomatic of a more serious condition.

About the Author: 
Dr. Frank Brettschneider, an Otolaryngologist, opened Port Huron E.N.T. in 1990. A graduate in the top 5 percent of his class, Dr. Brettschneider possesses extensive surgical experience.

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