Watch a short video as audiologist Violette Lavender explains the process pediatric balance testing at Cincinnati Children's.
The Pediatric Balance Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center enjoyed its grand opening in August 2008 at the new Cincinnati Children's Liberty Campus. This is a team oriented approach to diagnosing and treating disorders of the pediatric vestibular system.
The vestibular system is made of cues from the inner ear sensory organs, the eyes and the feet (proprioception). These cues are integrated in the brain. This specific pathway is called the "vestibular system."
Some children are born with or later on acquire a vestibular disorder, that is, a disruption of the above cues. There are tests designed to measure how the pediatric vestibular system is interpreting cues.
About Our Team
The Pediatric Balance Team is a collaborative effort from Otolaryngology, Audiology, and Occupational and Physical Therapy.
Otologist: An otologist will diagnosis the balance disorder and appropriately refer for special testing.
Audiologist: An audiologist will perform the hearing and balance assessment.
Occupational / Physical Therapist: The therapist will complete a sensory motor evaluation that will include sensory processing, occulomotor and, self help skills assessments.
Other professionals, such as neurologists, oncologists, psychologists and neurosurgeons, may play an active role in assessing balance.
Children with a Vestibular Disorder May Have One or More of these Symptoms
- Spinning sensation motor delays
- Difficulty walking
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Inner ear anomalies
- Migraine with dizziness
- History with ototoxic drug exposure
- Gait disturbances
- Motion sickness
- Frequent unexplained falls
What the Testing Involves
Testing will help the team decide if parts of the balance system are causing your child's dizzy symptoms. Some people may feel slightly unsteady, nauseated and / or dizzy from the tests. This does NOT happen to everyone. In fact, most of people feel fine after the test.
If your child is of driving age, it is necessary to have someone accompany them to the test. It is important to note that no procedure listed below hurts or will harm your child. One or all of the following tests will be performed:
A camera is used to record eye movements. A "scuba mask" type of head gear will be used to hold the camera. Instructions include following characters on a TV screen with their eyes and moving into different positions. The final part of the VNG will consist of putting warm and cool water into the ears to stimulate the inner ear.
Platform Posturography Test
This test will involve standing on a platform that measures the natural sway of your child.
Small children will sit on their parents lap and older children will sit alone on a chair that gently turns. A camera or electrodes will be used to record the eye movements.
What Therapy Involves
Treatment will focus on:
- Ways to increase and improve safety and self care independence
- Improving tolerance for movements that your child typically avoids
- Improving sensory processing and adaptive responses to sensory input
- Visual-motor exercises