Our ears house so many important structures in a tiny space! Most people know about the hearing aspect, but the peripheral balance system is also found inside of our ears. According to the CDC, millions of older individuals fall in the United States. Dizziness and falls can be profound and concerning events. Here at ESHC, our patient’s safety and well-being are of our utmost priority. That is why we are adding a new element to our balance diagnostic protocol available at only a select number of clinics across the world – Rotary Chair Testing. With the addition of the rotary chair, our clinic will be able to further test the balance system.
How Does the Testing Work?
Rotary chair testing uses information gained from the eye muscles, otherwise known as the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR), while simulating head movement. The rotary chair can turn in a circular motion to achieve that head movement simulation. The speed at which the chair spins can vary, giving us further information to determine whether the cause of the dizziness is linked to the inner-ear balance system or the central balance system in the brain.
Who Can Be Tested?
Because rotary chair testing is much more tolerable than other forms of vestibular testing, we can test more individuals than ever. Because there is no neck movement involved with rotary chairs, those with neck trauma will be able to be tested. The pediatric population will also be able to be tested using this system. Other inner-ear tests like bithermal caloric testing can sometimes be difficult for some patients, particularly with children. Rotary chair testing has been found to be much more tolerable, leading to much more compliance among the pediatric population.
Is This a New Form of Testing?
Though new to our clinic, rotary chair testing is well established within the audiology community and verified through research. Some publications even support rotary chair testing for more than just vestibular conditions. In addition, audiologists have used the rotary chair to monitor the effects of ototoxic drugs – substances that damage our hearing – on patients.
This type of procedure was only previously done in large research hospitals. Now we are making this advanced procedure available to the Eastside community.
Rotary chair testing is only available at select number of clinical facilities across the USA and world, and we are excited to announce we are among the top clinics offering this gold standard of balance/vestibular diagnostic testing. With the addition of this equipment, we are excited to expand our reach in helping those with balance disorders. We are expecting to start using the rotary chair at our Kirkland location in early 2023! Please reach out to our audiology team with any other questions, comments, or concerns.