We had an opportunity to participate in a study at UAB. The Physical Therapy Dept. wants to see about the vestibular functions of children with bilateral hearing loss and see if the expensive testing gives better results vs. less expensive testing. So we had our first round of tests yesterday. I was able to provide them with two children for the study and so were several of my friends since we have more than one child with bilateral loss.
The kids had a ball. It was very interesting and kid friendly FUN! Nothing was scary, nothing hurt, and in fact the kids laughed quite a bit (so did we). Gage of course investigated all the equipment and how things worked and they were kind enough to explain all the extra details he needed (lol). Our last set of tests will be the expensive set of tests (at no cost to us) down at the University of Alabama (Nat'l Champs by the way, ahem).
So what did we find out so far? First, I'll preface by saying Gage's ENT informed us a long time ago that his ears were severely malformed inside, even his balance organ. So I did give them all of that information before attending to make sure he was a fair test subject. I told them I never even remember a time that he's ever been dizzy.
After all the tests, it's been determined that Gman does not use his vestibular system at all for balance. He uses his vision and his sense of feeling. He could still balance pretty decently as long as he had one of those, however, when we took both away (blindfold and moving floor) he had absolutely no ability to balance...he'd fall completely. Brook was able to compensate better and on the third attempt, balanced with no vision and a moving surface under her feet.
Another test I found completely interesting...when people spin around, then suddenly stop spinning, their eyes typically pulse to the side for a few seconds as if you are still spinning. This isn't something you can control, it just happens. We got to see Brook's eyes jerk back and forth via tiny camera in a pair of goggles, she thought it was funny when we went back and showed her on the screen. When Gage stopped spinning, his eyes were perfectly still. No movement! So we got confirmation, he doesn't really get dizzy. He pretty much has a non-functioning vestibular system I suppose.
We are looking forward to going to U of A in a couple of weeks. The kids got prizes for going and they too look forward to going for more testing!