Reconnect has recently opened its Balance Clinic at Hillcrest Private Hospital, 471 Kassier Rd, Assagay.

The audiologist in attendance is Jessica-Lee Shaw.

Balance Assessment

Balance and dizziness assessments consist of a variety of tests, each aimed at a different part of the balance mechanism. The Reconnect Balance Clinic has access to a variety of assessment procedures through the use of  videonystagmography (VNG). This includes oculomotor assessments, calorics and video head impulse tests.

VNG uses infrared camera technology to measure the movement of the patient’s eyes during the different phases of the assessment. Through careful analysis of the recorded eye movements, the origin of the dizziness can be identified.

During the assessment the patient will be asked to perform a number of tasks while wearing the VNG goggles. These include tracking visual stimuli with the eyes (oculomotor tasks), moving the head (head impulse testing) and stimulating the ear with warm and cool air (calorics).

Comprehensive Approach

The comprehensive assessment and management of dizziness requires a team of healthcare practitioners. This team may include:

  • GP
  • Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon
  • Audiologist
  • Neurologist
  • Physiotherapist

Dizziness

Dizziness is a term used to describe a variety of sensations, such as feeling weak, faint, unsteady, woozy or light-headed. Dizziness that creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving is called vertigo.

Dizziness is a common complaint to GPs. More than 30% of elderly people experience some form of dizziness (Sloane et al., 2011). This can be the result of various medical conditions, such as:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Cerebellar Degeneration
  • Stroke
  • Vestibular Migraine
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Acoustic Neuroma
  • Superior Semi-circular Canal Dehiscence
  • Vestibular Neuritis

Balance Remediation

The treatment of dizziness will be dependent on the outcome of the balance assessment. Treatment may include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Medication
  • Surgery

pre-test instructions for video nystagmography (VNG)

What is a VNG?
By recording and measuring eye movements, the VNG can assess the function of your inner ear, brain and balance system to determine the cause of your symptoms. During the test you will be wearing a pair of goggles designed with a camera for each eye. The cameras record eye movement, allowing visual tracking and nystagmus (an involuntary eye movement) to be measured. The results of the VNG test provide information that is useful in determining the cause of dizziness or imbalance and in making recommendations for treatment.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS:

Medications:
Certain medications may interfere with the test results. It is important that you please read and comply with these instructions.
• Discontinue all medications for dizziness, including over-the-counter medications, 2 days prior to your appointment. Do not discontinue medications for high blood pressure, seizures, diabetes or other disorders. If you are unsure, please consult your doctor.
• Discontinue all anti-nausea medication 24 hours prior to the assessment

Alcohol and Caffiene:
Including beer, wine and cough mixtures which contain alcohol.
• Discontinue all forms of alcohol 24 hours prior to your assessment

Food:
Please try not to eat for at least 3 hours prior to your appointment. Eating prior to the assessment may make you feel ill.

Clothing:
The assessment requires you to move into different positions. Please wear comfortable clothing, such as trousers and a comfortable shirt.

Make-up:
Please do not wear any makeup to the assessment. This particularly includes eyeliner, mascara, false eyelashes and eye shadow. The presence of makeup can greatly affect the accuracy of results.

After the assessment:
The assessment may make you feel dizzy. This normally subsides within approximately 20 minutes. It is thus recommended that someone accompany you to the assessment who can drive you home if you are feeling unwell. Alternatively, we recommend that you wait 20-30 minutes after your assessment prior to driving yourself home.