Caloric test

I’m UK based where possibly outside the big Balance Centres (virtually all in London) it’s not in general use. Fifteen years on for me and it’s never been mentioned to me. I was interested to read that it originally came into notice, like the use of preventatives really, by pure chance when in about 1906 Robert Barany noted nystagmus in patients having their ears syringed out with warm water to remove ear wax, a procedure I have had probably a dozen times over the years and which in later years always resulted in an acute vertigo attack. The practice is no longer used in UK as it is now considered unsafe due to the potential for causing ear damage. Ear syringing is now carried out in hospital by suction which didn’t have the same effect on me. Helen

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And exactly how I got MAV (by incredibly stupidly thinking I could do something similar at home!)

Worse, the reason I tried it (for all of ~2 seconds?) was because I couldn’t get a doctor to do it and was not aware of the ‘vacuuming’ service.

The best solution of course is to use body warmed pure olive oil.

(I may shift these posts to their own topic).

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Yep, thinking about it, yes. Except the nurse did mine in a more controlled medical way. She even measured the water. Joke. Sorry me being cynical. I was already having vertigo attacks before so could have exacerbated symptoms. Pre my vertigo starting having ears syringed didn’t cause any reaction, no vertigo, nothing at all. Remember going straight on into work from the treatment room. Helen

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Trouble is it isn’t much of a service. At one time all doctors syringed with water to clean ears now on UK NHS it is only carried out at specialist treatment centres/hospitals. GP surgeries don’t have the equipment/expertise.

When I mentioned having attacks post syringing I was told by more than one GP it was ‘pure coincidence’ which further goes to show the total lack of expertise in vestibular related issues that still exists in many parts of the UK. They obviously hadn’t even heard of the ‘caloric test’. Helen

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You know Helen I am glad you haven’t had to endure the Caloric Test!! It was horrendous and I had to stop couldn’t tolerate it. Was dreadful! :confounded::confounded:

I could barely stand up afterwards. Not great when I was dizzy before it started :nauseated_face:

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I had the caloric test 23 years ago, I feel sick even just thinking about it. It was horrendous.


It used to be on the standard list of tests for anyone presenting with vertigo issues but thankfully, the NHS don’t seem to do it as standard anymore.

I’m with @MNEK18 …I actually think my anxiety and panic comes from my caloric test, I’ve never have true spinning vertigo except during the test and it was so bad that now whenever my dizziness starts spiking up I start panicking thinking that I’m going to spin like that day during the caloric test

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You are meant to spin during the test. You should be more concerned if you don’t :slight_smile:

MAV symptoms didn’t hit me until 2003, over fifteen years back. Glad I missed that one then. As a person who,with 24/7 dizziness pre-MAV dx and meds, was sat on a Gym Ball by a physio who thought my core muscles were to blame for my instability then staggered back to the hospital car park somehow and couldn’t stand up again properly for several weeks. I could only imagine … Helen

Nobody wants to spin James! :woozy_face::nauseated_face:

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Is the Caloric test absolutely necessary??? I know people who have done it and they never want to do it again. I’m seeing a new doctor soon and I am so scared she will want me to do the caloric :frowning:

Depends on where you are in the world to some extent, Depends on the doctor. Some insist on it. It’s not used much here in UK. I have seen two neurologists and neither so much as mentioned it to me. I was diagnosed without any of those tests. Never even seen a rotary chair either yet alone sat in one nor those 3D type goggles. Helen

I had it. I was nervous because I had had an ear injury which caused my MAV and didn’t want to exacerbate it. However, I went through with it. It was uncomfortable and disconcerting, but no harm ultimately came from it and I did not see an increase in symptoms that lasted more than a few hours.

Everybody’s different. I had my ears syringed with warm water a dozen times maybe over 20 years perhaps. Pre- MAV no problem. Once I’d started episodic MAV attacks three days totally incapacitated every time without fail and the doctors said it was pure coincidence. Helen


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I guess the calorific test phenomenon fell off the delivery lorry somewhere along the M5 corridor before it reached GP’s this far out West! Helen

I had a caloric test done back in the late 90’s. It was a standard test then for anyone presenting with dizziness (along with an MRI) but my consultant said the NHS were about to ditch these tests unless there had been a definite injury to the ear or suspected neuroma as they were expensive and not really useful for Menieres etc.

Has anyone heard of these tests? Perhaps it is American protocol but apart from the spinning chair I’ve not come across them in my many trips to docs.

For me the caloric test definitely increased my symptoms for days. Actually, this was the first time I had a bad flare up. It lasted almost 2 weeks, this was back in December before it became chronic. I didn’t know about mav and we were all focusing on Menieres because of my mom’s history …now I know that it was an increased in mav symptoms just like it happens when im stressed, when I start meds or when it happens just for the heck of it lol

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I’ve had all of these tests:
–Audiological Analysis
–OAE (Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions)
–BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response)
–ECoG (Electrocochleography)
–CDP (Computerized Dynamic Posturography)
–VEMP (Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potentials)
–V/ENG (Video/Electronystagmography) which included the Dix-Hallpike Maneuver and other positional head testing
–MRI of the brain, with and without contrast
–Rotary chair