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Balance assessments

An audiologist uses some special equipment to measure a girls balance

Tests are done by experienced and friendly staff in Hearing Services at Sheffield Children’s Hospital

We look at the balance system in the ear and brain using some simple tests, during which special goggles are worn which allow us to observe and record eye movements. The vestibular function tests help to find out whether the balance problem comes from the balance organs in the ear.

The first tests involve simply watching the movement of a small light on a screen, whilst wearing the special goggles. Then we may gently rotate the chair to check eye movements in response to movement.

Finally, for some patients, we may need to measure the function of the balance organs in the ears by recording eye movements after a small amount of warm or cool water has been run into each ear canal in turn.

This allows us to compare how well the two balance organs are working, and to understand whether dizziness may be caused by one of the balance organs not working as well as the other. Immediately after we put water into the ears, there may be a slight dizzy or off-balance feeling. This is usually mild and doesn’t last long. The test will not trigger off further attacks of dizziness.

A DVD showing what tests involve is available for parents – please contact us if you wish to request one.

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