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What can I expect when I visit the Eye and Ear for a balance disorder?

Making an appointment at the Eye and Ear

Once a referral is received, a specialist doctor will assess the referral and you will be contacted by the Outpatient Bookings Unit to make an appointment. If you need an interpreter and this is not mentioned in the letter, please call 03 9929 8234 to book an interpreter for your appointment. 

Preparing for your appointment at the Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service

The Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service is located at our St Andrews Place site, Eye and Ear on the Park. It is recommended that you allow at least two hours for your appointment, although you may be at the hospital for a longer period if you are referred to another department for tests.

You should be able to drive after your appointment and parking is available at Eye and Ear on the Park for all patients of the Eye and Ear at just $4 an hour. Entry to the car park is via Lansdowne Street, a location map is available here. Alternatively, Eye and Ear on the Park is also well serviced by public transport. More information is available here

You will be asked to complete this questionnaire while you are waiting for your appointment. However, you can print it off, complete it at home, and bring it with you to the appointment if you prefer.

It is important that you provide as much information as possible about your symptoms and include all details of your past medical history, current medication, written results of any recent tests and details about any recent treatments for your condition. Please see How is a balance disorder diagnosed? for more information on what to bring with you to the clinic.

Attending the Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time to complete all the necessary paperwork. When you arrive at Eye and Ear on the Park, you can ask at the front desk for directions to the Balance Disorders and Ataxia Service, which is located on the ground floor at Clinic E.

In the clinic you will meet a clerk, who will verify your details and ensure that all the necessary paperwork is complete. You will then see a medical specialist, who will ask further questions about your condition and carry out a medical examination.

The assessments that may be carried out during this consultation include:

  • an eye movement assessment using video goggles
  • an assessment of the coordination of your arms and legs
  • a balance and walking assessment.

Referral to the Neuro-otology Investigation Unit

Some patients may be referred to the hospital’s Neuro-otology Investigation Unit for specific tests and then asked to return to the clinic with the test results. This testing is performed to document the function of the inner ear (vestibular system) and will be carried out by a specialist balance audiologist. You may undergo one or more of the following tests, and other tests if necessary:

Hearing test: The hearing organ (cochlea) and the balance organs are both located in the inner ear, and assessment of hearing function may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. In this test you will hear tones of different pitches and you will need to press a button for the sounds you can hear.

cVEMP: This test involves monitoring muscle activity in the neck while the head is raised off the pillow and clicking noises are played through headphones.

oVEMP: The activity of the eye muscles is monitored while the eyes are directed upwards and a tapper is placed on the forehead.

Calorics: Air is inserted into the inner ear and the resulting eye movements are recorded.

Rotational chair: A special chair is rotated back and forth while a camera records eye movements. The chair does not make any sudden movements and the speed is no faster than an office chair being turned.

Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT): Quick but small head movements are performed from side to side and your eye movements are recorded.

Video Head Impulse Testing (vHIT)

After your appointment

For more information about treatment, go to How are balance disorders treated?