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Vestibular Function Testing

DISCLAIMER: This is an educational site for patients, caregivers, and medical providers. This information was accurate as of the date presented. Consult local medical authority or your healthcare provider for specific advice and referrals.

Chronic Dizziness and Vestibular Function Testing

Chronic dizziness and vertigo can be caused by changes in your brain or the part of your inner ear called the vestibular* system. This is the part of the ear that helps you keep your balance. Your healthcare provider will do a physical exam and look for signs of balance problems, dizziness, or vertigo (the feeling that you are moving when you are not). To understand the cause of these symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend vestibular testing. Vestibular testing is done to see whether there is a problem in the inner ear or the brain. They may recommend one or more of the following tests:

  • Computerized Dynamic Posturography.* This test checks your balance while you are standing on a balance board.
  • Videonystagmograhy.* This test checks for involuntary eye movements while you are wearing special goggles.
  • Electrocochleography.* This is a way to check the electrical activity inside the cochlea (the tiny, spiral part of your inner ear).
  • Rotary Chair. In this test, you sit in a chair that turns back and forth. It checks for problems in the inner ear.
  • Video Head Impulse Test. This test measures eye movements as your head is turned back and forth.
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic* Potential. This test measures your body’s response to sound.

Sometimes chronic dizziness happens with normal vestibular test results, or with minor findings that do not explain the dizziness. For this reason, testing alone may not provide all the answers. Your healthcare provider will carefully review the results of your tests and physical exam to determine the next step in testing and the best treatment options for your specific problem.


*See pronunciation guide.

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