The Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is proud to be home of Africa’s first advanced and specialist Neuro-Otologic Test Centre (NOTC). This multi-million Rand system was funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and will be used in both research and clinical settings.
It provides the most extensive test battery for evaluations of inner ear (otologic) and brain (neurologic) functions. The NOTC will provide insight into understanding origins of vertigo, dizziness and imbalance in individuals of all ages. The nature of the test battery can assist in differentiating problems from otologic nature to neurologic nature, or a combination thereof.
The nature of the test battery can include any of the following:
1. Ocular motor tests such as pursuit tracking, saccades and optokinetic nystagmus testing. The ceiling mounted, rotating sphere projects a full field light pattern. Built-in digital controls provide precise control of multiple motion profiles.
2. Rotary chair testing such as sinusoidal harmonic acceleration and velocity step testing allows diagnosis of bilateral vestibular dysfunction and determination of state of central compensation. It also includes testing of visual-vestibular interaction, visual suppression and visual enhancement, all of which to assist in the differential diagnosis of otologic vs. neurologic lesions.
3. Advanced rotary chair testing includes Dynamic Unilateral Centrifugation - dynamic translation on X-axis allows for separate testing of left and right otolith pairs. In addition, Off-Vertical Axis Rotation allows pitch-axis rotation up to 30 degrees to stimulate otolith organs.
4. Subjective Visual Vertical and Horizontal tests to differentiate between cognitive and vestibular balance controls.
5. Computer-controlled rotational head impulse testing to objectively assess the semicircular canals of the vestibular end-organs.
- Author Dr. Barbara Heinze