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Caloric and ENG

I am having the Caloric and ENG test next Thursday. I am wondering if someone can please tell me what it involves? Do they put hot and cold water in your ears? And does this induce vertigo? Will I be nauseas?

Thanks, Krista

Sorry I thought I posted this in the Medical Tests section but then released I had actually done it in general discussion :oops:

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I am having the Caloric and ENG test next Thursday. I am wondering if someone can please tell me what it involves? Do they put hot and cold water in your ears? And does this induce vertigo? Will I be nauseas?

Thanks, Krista

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Hi Krista,

I had VNG/ENG testing in July. The appt was at 1:00pm and they told me not to eat 4 hours prior. I’m super phobic about throwing up, so the last thing I ate was dinner the night before. I was also told to bring someone who could drive me home.
I was taken back to a room (my driver was able to go with me) and met the tech. He halfway explained what was going to happen, but moved rather quickly hooking me up. I had to take off my glasses and put on these big goggles and look at a red dot/light. All of the testing required me to look at the dot.
The first thing he did was turn my head and lay me back rather quickly…he did this with my head to the right and to the left. It caused increased dizziness but not spinning vertigo.
I was put upright and then there were white dots of lights…I can’t remember if I had to look at them and then look at the red dot or what…I do remember that all of a sudden there were a bunch of white lights kinda like a disco ball moving around. That was rather uncomfortable. For sure some vertigo.
The whole time, during the dizzy/vertigo inducing parts of the test, the tech would ask me questions and say ‘stay with me.’ He would ask me to list things, like women’s names that begin with an “A”…I think it’s just to keep your mind occupied and not so focused on the dizziness.
Then came the dreaded Caloric Test. I really was not looking forward to it and honestly I almost didn’t do the test because of it. The tech laid me back and explained I would hear a loud rushing sound as they flushed warm water into my ear. I was very vertigo inducing. It felt like I was on my back on a record player. Was it bad…yeap. The good thing about it…it stopped after maybe a minute. I did not feel like I was going to vomit.
Then the other ear. Not as bad, and I’m sure it was because I knew what to expect. Again lots of spinning, but it stopped after a minute.
Then into a room where there was what looked like a chair out of NASA. The goggles stayed on and the tech connected a bunch of wires and closed the door. It was very quite and very dark. Had to look at the red dot while the chair was moving. I had very little concept of how fast I was going but I knew I was moving. I would say the chair was not as bad as the Caloric Test.
According to the tech, I did not have to have cold water since no abnormal eye movement was noticed during the warm water. Immediately after getting out of the chair room the tech said ‘it’s not inner ear.’ Good to know right away.

Overall, was it bad, yes. Was it an exaggerated feeling of the dizziness I feel everyday, no. I have a feeling like I’m on a ship, a rocking or swaying motion all the time, so the vertigo or spinning was very different. The best thing is that when the testing stopped so did the spinning. Was it worth it, yes. I knew it wasn’t inner ear and knew my next step would be either a lumbar puncture or migraine neurologist…I opted for the migraine neurologist.

I had phenergan with me and took it right after the test…again because I’m extremely phobic about throwing up, although I think I would have been fine without it. I had to stop on the way back to the car because I just needed to cry for a minute. I was tired afterwards because I think when you’re body feels like it’s in motion all the time adding more movement to the mix is draining. Plus the anxiety of putting yourself through it is tough.

It did not trigger any additional dizziness or vertigo and after some rest I was back to my normal.

It’s a non-invasive test that makes you uncomfortable and provides information.

Good luck with the test…It’s not pleasant, but it’s not the worst either.

Hi Krista, it seems that everyones experience is different, I think some of us must be ultra sensitive, or have other problems with the ears/head or something. I have had more than one of these tests in different hospitals and I experienced a lot of dizziness with the calorics test, I didnt recover too quickly after and I wish someone had told me this before I went as I had a friend who took me to the first one, who moaned about waiting for me for half an hour while I was trying to get onto my feet, and then complained that I wanted the window of the car open on the way home (I felt sick). The second time, I was in London and had to wait two hours after the test before I could get in the car to come home.

The nice hospital nurse had told me when I went in that I would walk out the same way as I walked in … she lied! The good news is that you are supposed to get dizzy with the “water in the ears”. That proves your ears are good. Mine must be A1!

Dont let this put you off as you may experience only a little dizziness, its just something we have to get through to get some answers, but I suggest someone else driving you there and back and being aware you might not feel quite well enough to leap in the car as soon as you come out.


Christine make a really good point. I just wrote my experience, but everyone’s experience is different. In any case, good luck.

Hey there

Dont be nervous. Yes these tests are not ‘nice’ - but what test is ever nice?

Yes you will wear funny goggles and they’ll lay you down and you have to keep your eyes open whilst the put warm or cold water in your ears to see what happens. Yes vertigo will DEFINITELY happen, but it subsides (hopefully in most cases) very quickly after the water stops. It’s the keeping the eyes open which is the task but at least you are concentrating on that rather than panicking about the 10 seconds of vertigo.

Do not worry. You will be fine. :slight_smile:

How did it go?

Hi Judy, Thanks for writing to see how I went :)… Well it wasnt a nice experience, I did get some bad vertigo with one ear, and they had to use ice water… I got the results today and found out that my left inner ear is completely “dead” and my right inner ear isn’t working properly… This explains a lot! However, it also means that it isn’t MAV like another neurologist thought.

Overall, I felt a bit sick after the caloric, but it is good to now have some answers.

Thanks :slight_smile: Krista

Hi Krista,

Glad you survived. Also glad you got some answers.

Here’s to your journey to wellness,