PEI Installs New Vestibular Equipment

The Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) recently installed new state-of-the-art equipment that will allow for more comprehensive vestibular and balance evaluations for patients.

The vestibular system, which includes the inner ear, is what gives us our sense of balance. Among the new additions is an upgraded rotary chair, which allows for more advanced tests of the vestibular system.

“With the new rotary chair, what we’re able to do is really expand our knowledge of how the vestibular system works using a test that is more natural and easier for patients to tolerate,” said Dr. Bre Myers, PEI audiologist and vestibular expert.

During assessments, patients are seated comfortably and the chair is turned at slow speeds for several seconds then stopped. While the chair is in motion, audiologists record the patient’s eye movements.

“The new rotary chair provides us with better assessments,” said Dr. Myers. “Based on what the eyes are doing, we can make inferences on what the balance system is doing.”

The second new piece of equipment that was installed is the video head impulse test (vHIT), one of the most advanced vestibular tests in use today. 

“With the vHIT, we can better evaluate patients with persistent problems who may have had normal results from other tests,” said Dr. Myers.

During assessments, patients simply sit in a chair and the audiologist will turn their head back and forth. At the same time, the vHIT is capable of recording more accurate eye movements in response to the patient’s fast head movements.

Both the vHIT and rotary chair have been installed and are operating smoothly. According to Dr. Myers, the new additions have already made a difference.

“From a clinical perspective, this equipment has been a great addition,” Dr. Myers said. “Not only are they sleek and easy to use, they help us to provide better assessments and in turn more quality care for our patients.

Along with helping patients, the equipment also benefits students in Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology, who are assigned to PEI as part of their clinical rotation.

“We can offer our students experiences that will propel them ahead of their peers in terms of their ability to work with the most sophisticated equipment,” said Dr. Myers. “These new upgrades will aid them as they graduate from our program and pursue careers as audiologists.”