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Vestibular assessment

The service provides a comprehensive vestibular assessment and balance rehabilitation service for individuals who have been referred to the Audiology Department following an ENT consultation. 

Vestibular Assessment - All vestibular assessments are carried out at Darlington Memorial Hospital by our specialised vestibular assessment team.

The vestibular assessment can take approximately 90 minutes to complete. During the assessment you may be instructed to look at lights and move your head and body into various different positions. Part of the test may require some warm and cool air (caloric test) to be delivered into your ear canals to evaluate the function of each balance organ. You may be asked to wear some goggles containing infrared cameras (VNG) which will enable us to record your eye movement during each part of the assessment. We can also now test all 6 semi-circular canals of the vestibular system with the introduction of a vHIT system.  

The results of the assessment will be analysed and put into a report for your ENT specialist, along with any concerns that may have been identified. If appropriate, the specialist audiologist may discuss some balance rehabilitation techniques and/or make an appropriate referral for some balance management. The results of the assessment will be sent back to your ENT specialist for review in their ENT clinic.

Balance Rehabilitation - We offer balance rehabilitation at University Hospital North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital. Balance rehabilitation is a programme of rehabilitation which includes the administration of a set of graduated and customized exercises. It may also, where appropriate, include additional components such as education, breathing and relaxation exercises, counselling and gentle aerobic activity.

Other factors may also be addressed to optimise rehabilitation, such as management of anxiety and avoidance behaviours, which may require onward referral, as well as recognising abnormalities in posture, gait, joint range of motion and general physical conditioning, which may also require input from a physiotherapist or other suitable clinician as needed. 

We have developed close links with the falls team, physiotherapy, social services, local support groups and many more external rehabilitation services and further information can be given as required.

see the useful contacts section for further information and local contacts

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham