On this page
If you have dizziness or imbalance due to an ear-related cause, you are often referred to us for further tests from Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services for an assessment.
How we help
Depending on the type of test you need will determine the length of your appointment. This could take 30 minutes to 150 minutes. Your appointment letter will state how long will is expected.
Getting ready for your appointment
If the appointment letter states that your testing will take 90 minutes or more it will request that you:
- have your ears checked for wax at the GP surgery. Your ears need to be completely free of wax.
- wear trousers/shorts and contact lenses if available.
- do not take the following medications for 36 hours before the appointment: prochlorperazine (Stemetil®, Buccastem®), betahistine (Serc®) and antihistamines such as cinnarizine (Stugeron®), cyclizine and promethazine.
- do not take alcohol or recreational drugs 36 hours before your appointment.
- do not wear any eye make-up or fake lashes.
What happens at your appointment
30 minute appointment
We will ask you a few questions about your dizziness and whether you have any neck or back problems. We will describe and show you the test that we would like to carry out.
We can will make changes if you feel you are unable to perform the test exactly. If the test is positive for an ear disorder then generally we can try an exercise to resolve it. We cannot predict the degree of symptoms you may experience during the exercise, and we strongly suggest that you have another way of travelling home, rather than driving.
90 + minute appointment
We will take a thorough medical history from you. We will then decide which test should be carried out. Sometimes a test that involves standing on a still platform is used. Generally included are a few tests that involve watching a light move around on a screen. We will measure your eye movements using special goggles that contain a camera.
The last test involves blowing some air of different temperatures into each ear in turn. This measures the level of balance function in each ear separately. This will help us to decide whether a difference between the two is part of your balance problem.
We will go through the results with you, and may give you our thoughts about what could be happening. As our clinicians are not doctors they cannot make a diagnosis. We will be able to say whether balance exercises could be helpful or not.
Some patients who have a balance problem due to an ear disorder will benefit from specific, customised exercises. You will be asked questions about your balance problems and complete a questionnaire. You may be asked to stand on a low platform on the floor to take balance measurements.
We will decide which exercises are suitable for you. It is important that you perform these exercises several times are day. We will usually arrange a follow up appointment for you, to check your progress.
Where we are
Royal Sussex County Hospital, at Louisa Martindale Building on Eastern Road BN2 5BE and Sussex House on Abbey Road BN2 1ES