Effectiveness of Head-Mounted Vibrotactile Stimulation in Subjects With Bilateral Vestibular Loss: A Phase 1 Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Objective:

Evaluate the effectiveness of a head-mounted vibrotactile prosthesis for balance improvement in subjects with severe bilateral vestibular loss (BVL).

Study Design:

Crossover study.

Setting:

Academic tertiary care vestibular function test center.

Patients:

Five subjects with severe BVL as defined by video-oculography, rotational chair, and computerized dynamic posturography criteria.

Intervention:

Vibrotactile head tilt feedback

Main Outcome Measures:

Change in Sensory Organization Test (SOT) Conditions 5 and 6 performance (fall-no fall, time to fall, strategy analysis) and dynamic subjective visual vertical (DSVV) response.

Results:

1) Significant improvement in binary fall-no fall ratio on SOT 5 and SOT 6 combined (χ2 = 9.603, df = 1, p = 0.001); 2) Significant increase in time to fall measurements on SOT 5 (p < 0.001) and SOT 6 (p < 0.01; 1-tailed t test); 3) Nonsignificant improvement in strategy scores on SOT 5 (p = 0.156) and SOT 6 (p = 0.259; 1-tailed t test); and 4) No significant effect during eccentric DSVV testing (analysis of variance).

Conclusion:

Head-mounted vibrotactile stimulation produced significant improvement in postural stability in subjects with BVL undergoing SOT 5 and 6 testing with no effect on subjective visual vertical during DSVV testing.

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