Vestibular Disorders

  • An estimated 20% of the general population is affected by a vestibular disorder.1
  • At least half of the overall United States population is affected by a balance or vestibular disorder sometime during their lives.2
  • Approximately 15 out of every 1000 individuals consult their family physician each year with complaints of vertigo, dizziness, or imbalance; half the individuals over the age of 65 will develop positional vertigo.3
  • Of all falls suffered by the elderly, 50% are reported to be the result of vestibular problems.4
  • In approximately 15% of vestibular patients, the cause cannot be recognized.1
  • Traditional vestibular function tests fail to establish a localizing diagnosis that can account for a patient’s symptoms in a reported 30% to 50% of cases.5
  • Inner ear problems may not be amenable to surgical treatment, and pharmacological treatment of these conditions with vestibular suppressants often retards the recovery process.3
  • Vestibular dysfunction is a prominent part of balance disorders, particularly in the elderly, and is a significant source of morbidity.6

Learn more about Vestibular Rehabilitation


    1. University of Iowa Health Care. Comprehensive management of vestibular disorders. Currents: Spring 2002, Vol 3, No 2. Accessed Mar 2003.
    2. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. March 1997.
    3. Duke University Medical Center, Dept of Physical & Occupational Therapy. Vestibular Rehabilitation Program. Accessed Mar 2003.
    4. Biology Seminar presented to NASA headquarters by Dr. James F. Battey, Director, National Institute on Deafness; June 1998.
    5. Hain TC (1995). Treatment of vertigo. The Neurologist; 1:125-33.
    6. Ator GA. University of Kansas Department of Otolaryngology Division of Otology Talk: Vertigo – Evaluation and Treatment in the Elderly. Accessed Mar 2003.