Vestibular Evaluation FAQ’s

A well trained front office staff is critical for any type of medical or allied health practice.  Since vestibular clinics are far and few between, we often get phones calls from patients or potential patients inquiring about what we do exactly.  The following is a short phone script I have prepared for my front office staff.  This helps in two ways: 1. I know what was said, and 2. I know what was said is correct.

FRONT DESK Q AND A

What will happen at my appointment?

 The initial appointment is mostly a lot of questions and screening exams.  They will look in your ears, test to make sure your hearing levels are equal in each ear, review your medications and medical history.  At your initial appointment we screen for the most common and most worrisome causes of dizziness.  It helps if you can bring records of any other exams you have had regarding your hearing or dizziness.

Have you seen anyone yet for your symptoms?  Do you have a primary care (family) doctor?  Have you talked to them about this?  You may want to talk with them before scheduling an appointment.  It is best if we work with your family doctor, so we like them to be involved in setting up your appointment.

 How long will this take?

The first appointment will typically take around two hours.  If your initial exam suggests the probability of an inner ear cause for your dizziness, you will be scheduled to return for some additional more in depth testing.  That testing also usually takes about two hours.  If we feel that you don’t need a full balance evaluation, we will refer you to the appropriate physician.

What do you do to treat dizziness?

That depends on the cause of the dizziness.  Some types of dizziness can be treated right here in one or two office visits. Some requires ongoing therapy or medication.  Only in rare cases is surgery considered.

How much does this cost?

That depends on what we need to do.  We are Medicare and Medicaid providers, and accept their rates.    Basically, each insurance company sets the rate.  We accept all insurance company rates at this time, although there are a few important tests that may not be covered by your insurance.  You will have these clearly explained and you will have the option to have them done or not.  For those with no insurance, we charge Medicare approved rates as noted above.

Can I go ahead and make an appointment? 

 We prefer you set up an appointment through your family doctor so that they can check for things like blood pressure, circulation, or medication side effects that are better treated by them than us.  If you don’t have a family doctor we can help you find one.  I will go ahead and send you some information about our clinic.  Take it to your doctor and see what he/she says.  He/she can help you decide if we can be of help to you.

About Alan Desmond

Dr. Alan Desmond is the director of the Balance Disorders Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health Center, and holds an adjunct assistant professor faculty position at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. In 2015, he received the Presidents Award from the American Academy of Audiology.