VNG testing is a series of tests used to evaluate the integrity of the vestibular portion of the inner ear. The vestibular nerve is responsible for carrying balance signals to the brain. Hearing Evaluation Services (HES) uses VNG as part of our tinnitus test battery because hearing impairment and related tinnitus often accompany dysfunction of the balance system. We believe that assessing all possible causes is an important component of a thorough examination, and uncovering the nature and degree of a patient’s tinnitus.
VNG is one of the only tests capable of determining if a vestibular problem is localized to one or both sides of the balance system. Good balance and vision rely on a close relationship between the vestibular organ and the eyes. The VNG evaluates your balance function by using a pair of goggles, which are designed to record eye movements when following visual objects. People produce involuntary eye movements called, “nystagmus,” when they become dizzy. If there is a problem within the balance system, certain head or body positions can trigger these involuntary eye movements.
There are three parts of the VNG test:
- Oculomotor: Sitting upright, you will follow a moving light with your eyes. This test helps to determine how well your eyes, brain and vestibular system are working together to track various objects. The link between these three organs facilitates activities like walking and checking your watch or cellphone at the same time.
- Positional: Eye movements are monitored while you are moved to a variety of different head and body positions on the examination table. This test helps determine which structures of the balance system may be involved in causing your dizziness.
- Caloric: Laying back at an angle, your doctor will stimulate the vestibular system by inserting a gentle flow of cool and warm water or air into the ear canal for approximately 30 seconds. This test allows us to measure the strength of each component of the balance system in each ear.
Oftentimes, tinnitus and dizziness can be associated with post-concussive symptoms, migraines, medications, and aging. Tinnitus tests may be modified to fit the needs of the patient. For example, severe tinnitus patients may not be subject to procedures where water or air flows into the ear as it may worsen the symptoms.
VNG testing for tinnitus will be used in conjunction with a patient’s detailed medical history as well as a hearing evaluation, and other necessary tests. With a thorough evaluation, we are then able to design a treatment plan that gets at the root of what is causing your tinnitus and offer appropriate recommendations. With a team of highly educated audiologists who specialize in tinnitus, HES promises that a tinnitus specialist will be available to address your unique concerns throughout testing and treatment.
With the proper therapies and hearing devices, you can reduce tinnitus symptoms and improve your quality of life. Call any of our HES locations to schedule a tinnitus appointment, and learn more about the various testing methods.