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Indications for Caloric Testing

  • to confirm that dizziness is of inner ear origin
  • to provide patient with understanding and reassurance of a definite diagnosis which can be therapeutic
  • to more confidently provide a specific treatment with vestibular rehabilitation

A caloric test is abnormal in 65% of patients with vestibular symptoms. Isolated vestibular dizziness is of inner ear origin. VIIIth nerve or brainstem dysfunction are rare causes of a canal paresis and are associated with other non vestibular symptoms.  

Advantages of Caloric Testing   

The stimulus is easily administered and well tolerated by most patients; each ear is stimulated separately, allowing lateralisation of the affected ear.

Disadvantages of Caloric Testing

Produces nausea in a small proportion (5%) and cannot be performed with a tympanic perforation; reduced responsiveness in a middle ear effusion.