New device may help treat dizziness

It analysed bone conduction sounds
Scientists have developed a new vibrating device that is placed behind a patient’s ear to diagnose dizziness, and offers significant advantages over the current tests. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden developed the testing device using bone conduction sounds.
Issues with balancing
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.
“We have developed a vibrating device that is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test,” said Bo Hakansson, a Professor at Chalmers. “The vibrating device is small in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 Hz.
“Previously, no vibrating device has been available that was directly adapted for this type of test of the balance system,” he said. In bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear.
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