The Balance Center

Videonystagmography (VNG) testing


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There are different aspects of the balance system which can malfunction. In some people the problem is an irreversible injury to the nerves which serve the “gyroscope” of the inner ear, called the vestibular system. Fortunately, the brain has a remarkable ability to recognize when one of the vestibular systems is not working correctly. At first a person with a vestibular “weakness”, or vestibulopathy, feels disoriented and maybe sick to the stomach. With time the brain usually learns to disregard this faulty information. In other words, the brain “compensates” for the problem.

Videonystagmography (VNG) refers to a series of tests that evaluate the contribution of the three systems that keep us in balance, vestibular (inner ear), visual, and the somatosensory (input from contact with the surfaces we are walking on). The brain combines the information from each of these three systems and keeps us in balance as we walk, turn our head, read, drive, etc.

Our window into the balance system are the eyes. Goggles are worn while a series of simple tasks, such as following the movement of a light on a bar, changing head and body positions are performed. A separate portion of the test stimulates the vestibular system directly by delivering warm then cool air into each ear. Information from the tests is combined with other clinical information to determine if the balance disorder is ear related or not. Then a strategy for treating the disorder is formulated. This may include vestibular rehabilitation exercises or referral to other medical specialties.

Because the balance system is stimulated during the test, we recommend having someone available to drive you home afterwards.

The test takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to complete.

for Instruction sheet, click here .

for our handout "Lower Your Risk of Falling" click here .

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a series of different exercises that help speed up the recovery, or compensation, of the balance system. These are usually very simple, repetitive movements of the eyes or head. They should require about 15 minutes of your time daily for 6 weeks. They are taught during one 30-minute appointment in our Providence office. You will be provided customized written exercises to take home. A follow-up appointment with limited testing will be scheduled for 6 weeks after the start of the program.


Alliance ENT ††† Main Office: 845 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904 ††† Phone: (401)331-9690 Fax: (401) 331-9609
Email: ~ Please Note, this is for general information only, not medical emergencies

© 2013 Alliance ENT, Inc.