What is Balance Testing?

Balance testing, also known as vestibular testing, involves a series of diagnostic tests to evaluate the vestibular system’s function responsible for maintaining balance and spatial orientation. These tests help identify underlying issues contributing to dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance, allowing our specialists to develop targeted treatment strategies.

What Causes Balance Problems?

Balance problems can stem from various underlying factors, including issues with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerves that control balance and spatial orientation. Common causes of balance problems include:

Inner ear disorders:

Conditions such as vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and labyrinthitis can affect the balance of organs in the inner ear.

Neurological conditions:

Disorders like multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and neuropathy can disrupt the brain’s ability to process sensory information related to balance.


Viral or bacterial infections affecting the inner ear or brain can lead to temporary or permanent balance disturbances.

Head injuries:

Traumatic brain injuries or concussions may damage structures involved in balance regulation.


Certain medications can have side effects that affect balance, especially when taken in high doses or in combination with other drugs.

Age-related changes:

As people age, changes in the inner ear, vision, and muscle strength can increase the risk of balance problems.

Identifying the specific cause of balance problems is crucial for developing effective treatment strategies and improving overall quality of life. At Southern ENT Associates, our specialists conduct comprehensive evaluations to pinpoint the root cause of balance issues and create personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs.

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Types of Balance Tests

  • Videonystagmography (VNG): Measures eye movements to assess vestibular (related to the “vestibule” of the inner ear that contributes to the ability to balance) function.
  • Electronystagmography (ENG): Evaluates eye movements using electrodes placed around the eyes.
  • Rotary Chair Test: Assesses how well the vestibular system responds to head movements.
  • Posturography: Analyzes balance control and stability during various sensory conditions.
  • Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT): Measures the vestibulo-ocular (ear to eye) reflex to assess inner ear function.

The Science Behind Balance Problems and the Inner Ear

The inner ear plays a critical role in maintaining balance and spatial orientation. Within the inner ear are delicate structures known as the vestibular system, which consists of the vestibule and semicircular canals. These structures work together to detect changes in head position and movement, sending signals to the brain to help us maintain stability and coordination.

Semicircular Canals:

Three semicircular canals detect rotational movements of the head in three dimensions: side-to-side (horizontal), up-and-down (vertical), and tilting movements. Fluid-filled channels within these canals move in response to head movements, stimulating hair cells that signal the brain about the direction and speed of movement.


The vestibule contains two structures called the utricle and saccule, which detect linear movements and changes in head position relative to gravity. Like the semicircular canals, the utricle and saccule contain fluid-filled sacs and hair cells that transmit information about head position and movement to the brain.

Vestibular Nerve:

Nerve fibers from the hair cells in the semicircular canals, utricle, and saccule converge to form the vestibular nerve, which carries sensory information to the brainstem and cerebellum. These brain regions process the incoming signals to coordinate movements and maintain balance.

Any disruption or damage to the inner ear structures can lead to balance problems, vertigo, dizziness, and other vestibular disorders. Conditions such as Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and labyrinthitis can affect the function of the inner ear, resulting in various symptoms. Understanding the intricate interplay between the inner ear’s structure and balance regulation is essential for effectively diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders.

At Southern ENT Associates, our specialists utilize advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments to address inner ear-related balance issues comprehensively. By targeting the underlying causes of vestibular dysfunction, we aim to restore balance function and improve overall quality of life.

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Why Choose Southern ENT Associates for Balance Testing?

At Southern ENT Associates, our experienced specialists use the most advanced diagnostic technology and evidence-based practices to assess and diagnose balance disorders accurately. We prioritize patient comfort and safety throughout testing, ensuring thorough evaluations and personalized treatment plans.

With 6 convenient locations in Southern Louisiana, we make accessing the treatment you need easy.

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