Often, doctors can make an initial diagnosis for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo based on a physical examination and the patient's medical history. These involve taking a medical history to check if the typical symptoms discussed above have been experienced by the patient and observing the existence of any other symptoms, such as rhythmic eye movement or unsteadiness.
You may also be required to undergo a Dix-Hallpike test and/ or the 'roll test', which are diagnostic procedures carried out to determine if the patient is suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
In the Dix-Hallpike test procedure, the patient's head is rotated at various degrees and then allowed to barely rest at the edge of the examining table. This triggers a strong vertigo sensation. The patient's eyes are then observed for any rhythmic movement in response to changes in the head position (called nystagmus), which confirms that the patient is suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This test also allows to doctors identify which ear in particular is causing symptoms of the disorder.
The roll test involves rotating the patient's head on both sides and then checking for vertigo and nystagmus symptoms.
For both procedures, the doctor will particularly note if the symptoms are triggered at a certain position of the head, and observe any important characteristics associated with this condition.