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​Balance

Our vestibular team provide balance testing and rehabilitation to adults with balance problems. Patients are referred by their GP to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant, who will perform a medical examination. You will then be referred to Audiology for comprehensive balance testing and the results will be sent to your ENT consultant. If we feel we can help you with balance rehabilitation, we will make an appointment to talk to you about balance exercises and develop a programme which may help you to overcome your balance difficulties.

To contact Audiology to make an appointment or for advice, please ring 01305 255563.

What to expect at a balance testing appointment

Your ENT consultant has decided that the problems you are having with your balance require further testing to try to uncover their cause and hopefully suggest treatment. He has therefore referred you for balance tests (also known as vestibular tests).

Why do I Need Vestibular Tests?
Your brain achieves its sense of balance by taking information from a variety of sources, including your eyes, balance organs in your inner ears and your sense of touch and pressure. All these processes are very sensitive and a slight difference in any of them can make you feel dizzy, off-balance or light-headed. In order to identify exactly where the problem may be, we need to look at these processes in detail.

What will the Tests Involve?
Vestibular tests will be carried out by a member of the Audiology Department. The tests can be divided into three sections: 
1. Positional Tests
In many dizzy patients, performing certain movements makes them feel dizzy. By putting patients through a structured set of movements and positions, we can start to understand how and why these problems are happening.
2. Measurement of Eye Movement
Your brain moves your eyes in response to messages from your balance system. By measuring the movement of your eyes we can see how well your eyes, brain and balance system are interacting.
3. Caloric Testing
This involves putting a small amount of warm or cool water into each of your ears to stimulate your balance organs. We can then tell how well the two sides are working together. The test may make you feel slightly dizzy, but this will only last for a short time.

What Happens now?
In a few weeks’ time you will receive an appointment to attend the Audiology Clinic for your vestibular tests. Your appointment letter will tell you when to arrive, where to attend and will give you simple advice about any balance medication you may be taking. We advise all patients to bring a friend or relative to drive them home. There will be a telephone number on the letter for you to ring if you have any further questions. Please bring the letter to your appointment.