Excessive water pressure inside the ear can injure a previously damaged eardrum, but this rarely occurs. The water part of this test should not be done if your eardrum has been perforated recently, because this can lead to an ear infection.
Electronystagmography is a better test than simply watching the eyes after flushing warm or cold water into the ears. It can record movements behind closed eyelids or with the head in a variety of positions.
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 418.
Sanders DB, Howard JF Jr. Neuro-otology: laboratory investigations in diagnosis and management of neuro-otological disorders. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 40.
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