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Inner Ear Disorders Message Board

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Re: Eng?
Aug 2, 2004

For me, all the tests were done in a hospital setting, and I was allowed to bring a family member with me.

The first part of the testing was the Balance Test. This is where they put you a hanging holster and move the floor beneath you. Nothing hurt, and I just felt a little ridiculous being "harnessed up". During this test, the floor was tilted at different angles and you were asked to stand or step at certain times. I found it easy to keep my balance when I knew the the floor was being deliberately moved. When this test was done, I felt fine, meaning, it didn't make my symptoms worse. This was the only part of the testing that was not covered by insurance, and I had to sign a waiver stating that I agreed to pay.

I was moved to another room for the tracking tests. I was asked to sit in a chair that was on a pedestal (it kind of looked like a dentist's chair). I was asked to track objects and lights, sometimes moving my head and sometimes just moving my eyes. Sometimes the lights were left on, and sometimes they were turned off. I had to wear a tracking helmet at times, which covered my eyes to the bridge of my nose. I was anxious only because I was not used to moving my head or eyes a lot (in addition to wooziness, I was having "funny eye problems"; which I still experience), and I worried that doing these tests would make my wooziness worse, but it didn't. Nothing hurt. I was more nervous than anything.

I really psyched myself up in a nervous way for the caloric part of the ENG, because I knew they were going to make me feel like I was spinning without moving. I have a difficult time lying flat because I feel like I am spinning or moving, so having to lie flat for this part of the testing really started my anxiety. I had this part of the testing done in the same room as the tracking testing. You lie down flat and a very small (tiny) balloon in inserted in one ear. It feels like when your doctor is looking in your ear - it doesn't hurt. One ear is done at a time. First the balloon is filled with a tiny amount of either warm or cool water (one temp. is done first, and then the other). The balloon is slowly filled with a little bit of the water, and the pressure of the water is what makes you spin. Sometimes you may be asked to leave your eyes open, sometimes you may be asked to leave your eyes closed. The spinning for me what actually more gentler than the spinning I get when I lie down or from an ear infection. The first time I felt this sensation, it really scared me, but once I realized that it would only last for about 60 seconds or so, and it went away as soon as they deflated the balloon, I was calmer about it (though not completely relaxed). I was very nervous that the spinning sensation would not stop once they stopped the test, but it did. Then they would go to my other ear and repeat the test with the same temp. water. So basically it was four times: two balloons in each ear, one for warm and one for cool. The water was neither too hot or too cold, and once I sat up, I didn't feel any worse than when I started. I was told that some people can't go through this whole test because of the sensations, so I was glad that I had the inner strength to do this, even though I was quite panicked about this test in partcular. I was able to go about the rest of my day no worse for the wear.

I was also referred by my neurologist to have an EEG, where they hook about 100 electrodes to your head and do testing for seizures. This was also done in a hospital setting, and I was allowed to bring a family member with me. The electrodes are hooked up to your scalp with a bit of sticky stuff, which washes out easily in the shower. I looked like medusa when they were done hooking me up! You are asked to recline on a lounging chair, and then look at different lights (strobes, flashing, blinking), as well as hyperventillate for about five minutes. Sometimes with the lights on, and sometimes with them off. This is the only part of the EEG that scared me because I did not want to make myself lightheaded, as I already was experiencing fainty feelings with my symptoms. This test was also harmless.

I also have had two MRIs: one in an open tube and on in a closed tube. Some people have dye injected; both times I did not. I won't go into detail about having an MRI because they are more "common", but I will be happy to answer any questions on that, too.

The only test I did not have done was the Rotational Chair. This is not considered part of the ENG test (at least here, NY). Since my doctors did not suggest this, I won't pursue it at this point, as I do not feel I would be able to tolerate the chair spinning, as even turning my head elevates my symptoms sometimes.

I hope this helps you or anyone out who wants the testing but is slightly afraid to have them. I was too, but I felt better knowing that I had them. Take care.

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