Mayo Clinic doctors trained in ear, nose and throat conditions, brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists), and other specialties evaluate you to determine the cause of your balance problem.
To diagnose your balance problem, your doctor will review your medical history and your symptoms. Your doctor will conduct a physical and neurological examination.
Your doctor may order several tests to determine the cause of your balance problem. Your tests may include vestibular tests to determine whether your symptoms are caused by problems in the balance (vestibular) function in your inner ear. Mayo Clinic is among few medical centers in the country to offer comprehensive diagnostic testing in state-of-the-art vestibular and balance laboratories.
- Hearing tests. Many hearing tests, such as audiometry and others, evaluate your hearing in your inner ear and can help determine the cause of your balance problem.
- Posturography test. A posturography test indicates which parts of your balance system you rely on most.
- Electronystagmography (ENG) and video nystagmography. These tests analyze eye movements to evaluate your balance (vestibular) function in your inner ear. Your doctor may use an ENG to assess if your balance problems are due to problems in your inner ear.
- Rotary chair test. This test analyzes eye movements while you're seated in a computer-controlled chair that moves slowly in one place in a circle.
- Dix-Hallpike maneuver. In this test, your doctor carefully turns your head in different positions while watching your eye movements to determine if you have a false sense of motion or spinning.
- Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials test. In a vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) test, sensor pads with wires (electrodes) attached to your neck, under your eyes and forehead measure tiny changes in muscle contractions in reaction to sounds.
- Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans, to determine if brain conditions may be causing your balance problem.
- Blood pressure and heart rate tests. You may have your blood pressure checked when sitting and then after standing for 2 to 3 minutes to determine if you have significant drops in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension). Also, you may have your heart rate checked when standing. These tests can help determine if a heart condition or other conditions may be causing your symptoms.