Scientific article
Open access

Vibrotactile feedback improves balance and mobility in patients with severe bilateral vestibular loss

Published inJournal of Neurology, vol. 266, no. Suppl 1, p. S19-S26
Publication date2019

The impact of vibrotactile feedback of the gravity vector, provided by a "balance" belt worn around the waist, was evaluated in 39 patients with a severe bilateral vestibular loss, confirmed by extensive laboratory testing and suffering from a low quality of life, mainly due to imbalance. The mobility and balance score (MBS) of all patients prior to the use of the belt was equal or less than 5 out of a scale of 10. Thirty-one out of the 39 patients experienced the effect of the belt on their balance and mobility as positive in a preselection trial of 2 h in the hospital. The 31 positive responders then used the belt for 1 month in daily life. The average MBS increased significantly from 4.2 to 7.9 (paired T test, T = 9.82, p < 0.00001). Twenty-three out of 31 patients reported a benefit ranging from an improvement of 60-200% in their MBS. Eight patients did not experience any benefit. In summary, 23 out of 39 patients with a severe imbalance due to a bilateral vestibular loss experienced a clear benefit of vibrotactile feed = back in daily life. We conclude that vibrotactile feedback via the waist can serve as an effective prothesis for patients with severe bilateral vestibular loss to improve the quality of life.

  • Vestibular function
  • Bilateral vestibulopathy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Bilateral vestibular loss
  • Balance
  • Restoration
  • Sensory substitution
Citation (ISO format)
KINGMA, Herman et al. Vibrotactile feedback improves balance and mobility in patients with severe bilateral vestibular loss. In: Journal of Neurology, 2019, vol. 266, n° Suppl 1, p. S19–S26. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-9133-z
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0340-5354

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