New technological device to diagnose dizziness
Hearing and balance have something in common. For patients with dizziness, this relationship is used to diagnose issues with balance, according to the study published in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research.
Commonly, a 'VEMP' test (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials) needs to be performed.
A VEMP test uses loud sounds to evoke a muscle reflex contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by the vestibular system -- the system responsible for our balance.
However, today's VEMP methods have major shortcomings and can cause hearing loss and discomfort for patients.
In bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear.
Half of over-65s suffer from dizziness, but the causes can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons, researchers said.
In 50 percent of those cases, dizziness is due to problems in the vestibular system, they said
"Thanks to this bone conduction technology, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimized," said Karl-Johan Freden Jansson, a postdoctoral researcher at Chalmers University.
The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today's method using air conducted sounds through headphones.
"This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage," said Jansson.
The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness, researchers said.
The cost of the new technology is also estimated to be lower than the corresponding equipment used today, according to researchers.