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Keywords:

  • Bilateral vestibular loss;
  • vestibular rehabilitation;
  • caloric testing;
  • rotatory chair testing;
  • aminoglycoside ototoxicity;
  • gentamicin vestibulotoxicity.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypotheses: The outcomes of patients with bilateral vestibular hypofunction vary widely. Some resume relatively normal activity within months, whereas others have a more debilitated course. This study sought to identify factors that may affect outcome. Study Design: A retrospective review of patients treated for bilateral vestibular hypofunction over a 2-year period at a neurotology clinic. Methods: Patients' medical charts, electronystagmography data, rotatory chair testing, and posturography results were reviewed. Subjective and objective measures were used to evaluate outcome. Results: Bilateral vestibular hypofunction was diagnosed in 35 patients. Improvement after vestibular rehabilitation therapy was noted in 18 patients (51%), whereas 12 (34%) showed little or no change and 5 (15%) were not available for follow-up. The patients without improvement were more likely to have a chronic disorder as a cause of the vestibulopathy and had more medical comorbidities, on average, when compared with those who improved. Lower gains and time constants on rotatory chair testing were also seen in the group that did not improve. Conclusions: Poor rehabilitation results may be attributable to increased severity of vestibular insult, progressive peripheral or central vestibular dysfunction, and multiple medical problems.