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VNG Balance Evaluations

Vertigo, dizziness, and balance problems can be life altering. For many people it can affect their ability to do even the simplest daily tasks. If you are experiencing vertigo or balance issues, your doctor may want to refer you for a VNG balance evaluation.

What is a VNG Balance Evaluation?

VNG stands for videonystagmography, which is a series of tests that evaluate the health of your inner ear and your central motor function. VNG testing can possibly uncover the root cause of your vertigo, dizziness, or balance issues, and allow your doctor or audiologist to treat it appropriately and effectively.

What Tests Will Be Performed?

VNG testing consists of a variety of tests to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. Most VNG evaluations consist of four main tests:

Ocular Mobility

This test checks for your ability to follow visual targets. You will attempt to follow targets with your eyes while an object is jumping, moving slowly, or standing still. Inability to track objects properly could indicate central or neurological problems or possibly an issue with the vestibular system connecting to the brain.

Optokinetic Nystagmus

This test also checks for your ability to follow visual targets. During this test, you will watch a large image that is continuously moving, and will be asked to follow the movements. Similarly, this test will give clues to possible central or neurological problems or problems with the vestibular system.

Positional Nystagmus

This test will help to give an idea of the health of your inner ear system. You will be asked to move your head and body into different positions, checking for inappropriate eye movements in each position. If there is any fluid blockage in the inner ear, it could be the cause of vertigo or balance issues.

Caloric Testing

This test can determine if you have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss by checking to see if your ears can detect sensations properly. Your eyes will be monitored while your inner ears are stimulated (one at a time) with warm or cold air, to see if you respond appropriately.

Preparing for VNG Testing

Because of the nature of the tests, there are some preparations you will need to make before your evaluation. Firstly, you should discontinue any medications that could alter the results.

The following medications should be discontinued for at least 48 hours before the test:

  • Decongestants or antihistamines
  • Dizziness medications
  • Narcotics or pain medications
  • Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol
    Sedatives or sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers
  • Nerve or muscle relaxants

If you are unsure if you should stop taking a certain medication for the test, contact your doctor or audiologist several days prior to the evaluation. Also, you shouldn't consume any alcoholic beverages at least 48 hours before the tests.

Make sure you bring a list of the medications you are taking regularly, as the technician will probably want this information.

A few additional instructions:

  • Remove contacts beforehand and wear eyeglasses to the appointment instead
  • Don't drink any coffee, tea, or soda on the day of the test
  • Don't eat any solid food 2 to 4 hours before the test
  • Come with a clean face, no makeup

The entire VNG evaluation typically lasts about 90 minutes and can cause some dizziness. This dizziness usually subsides within a short period of time. It is advised that you bring someone with you who can drive you home afterward if you are unable to drive or don't feel well after the tests.