Vestibular findings in professional divers

Zohara Sharoni, Avi Shupak, Orna Spitzer, Zohar Nachum, Natan Gadoth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the present study was to investigate possible inner ear changes related to professional diving, by the documentation of auditory and vestibular function in 13 asymptomatic professional divers and 12 nondiver controls. A higher average pure tone hearing threshold, although of no clinical significance, was found in the study group (8.53 ± 4.85 versus 6.67 ± 3.54 dB hearing level, p =. 04). In the vestibular evaluation, the smooth harmonic acceleration test phase leads for 0.01, 0.02, and 0.04 Hz were significantly lower in the divers (0.01 Hz, 38.46° ± 7.15° versus 45.83° ± 9.02°, p =. 02; 0.02 Hz, 21.08° ± 5.19° versus 25.17° ± 5.78°, p =. 05; 0.04 Hz, 12.38° ± 3.69° versus 14.25° ± 3.14°, p =. 05). We suggest that the lower smooth harmonic acceleration phase values found in the professional divers, reflecting longer vestibulo-ocular reflex primary time constants and enhancement of the velocity storage mechanism, are the result of a habituation process that augments the low-frequency response of the canal-ocular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Professional diving
  • Sinusoidal harmonic acceleration
  • Velocity storage
  • Vestibular adaptation
  • Vestibular function tests
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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