Vestibular findings associated with chronic noise induced hearing impairment

A. Shupak, E. Bar-el, L. Podoshin, O. Spitzer, C. R. Gordon, J. Ben-david

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Histological and functional derangements of the vestibular system have been reported in laboratory animals exposed to high levels of noise. However, clinical series describe contradictory results with regard to vestibular disturbances in industrial workers and military personnel suffering from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate vestibular function in a group of subjects with documented NIHL, employing electronystagmography (ENG) and the smooth harmonic acceleration (SHA) test. Subjects were 22 men suffering from NIHL and 21 matched controls. Significantly lower vestibule-ocular reflex gain (p =0.05), and a tendency towards decreased caloric responses were found in the study group. No differences in the incidence of vertigo symptoms, spontaneous, positional and positioning nystagmus, directional preponderance and canal paresis in the ENG, or the SHA test phase and asymmetry parameters were observed between the groups. These results demonstrated a symmetrical centrally compensated decrease in the vestibular end organ response which is associated with the symmetrical hearing loss measured in the study group. Statistically significant correlations were found between the average hearing loss, the decrement in the average vestibulo-ocular reflex gain (p = 0.01), and ENG caloric lateralization (p = 0.02). These correlations might indicate a single mechanism for both cochlear and vestibular noise-induced injury. The results imply subclinical, well compensated malfunction of the vestibular system associated with NIHL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronystagmography
  • Noise effects
  • Smooth harmonic acceleration
  • Vestibular pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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