This study evaluates the otolith function of patients with head trauma, postulating that otolith dysfunction is a cause of nonspecific dizziness after head trauma. We prospectively enrolled 28 patients referred within 3 months after head trauma between March 2007 and December 2009. Pure tone audiometry, caloric testing and otolith function tests, including cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP) and subjective visual vertical (SVV) tests, were performed on all patients. The relationship between otolith function and otologic symptoms was analyzed. Of the 28 patients with head trauma, 18 complained of dizziness and 12 experienced hearing loss, including 6 patients who complained of both. On defining otolith dysfunction as an abnormal cVEMP or abnormal SVV, a significant difference in otolith dysfunction existed between the groups with and without dizziness [72 (13/18) vs. 20% (2/10)]. In contrast, no significant difference in otolith dysfunction was detected between the abnormal and normal hearing groups. A significant number of the patients who complained of nonspecific dizziness after trauma had abnormal otolith function. After trauma, when patients complain of dizziness, vestibular function tests, including otolith function tests, should be considered.
Otolith Head injury Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials Subjective visual vertical
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