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      Quality of life of patients with bilateral vestibulopathy.

      The Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology
      Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Hearing Loss, Bilateral, etiology, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Prospective Studies, Quality of Life, Questionnaires, Severity of Illness Index, Vestibular Diseases, psychology, Vision Disorders, Young Adult

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          Currently, there is no evidence of an effective treatment for patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BV). Their main complaints are oscillopsia and imbalance. Opinions about the impact of BV on their quality of life are controversial, and their handicap is not always recognized, even among otoneurologists. The aim of this study was to objectively assess the health status of BV patients in order to evaluate the need for pursuing efforts toward the development of new treatments. The short-form health survey (SF-36), the dizziness handicap inventory (DHI), the short falls efficacy scale-international (short FES-I), and an oscillopsia severity questionnaire were submitted to 39 BV patients. The SF-36 scores were compared to the scores of a general Dutch population. The DHI scores were correlated to the oscillopsia severity scores. The short FES-I scores were compared to scores in an elderly population. Residual otolithic function was correlated to all scores, and hearing to SF-36 scores. Compared to the general Dutch population, the BV patients scored significantly worse on the "physical functioning", "role physical", "general health", "vitality", and "social functioning" SF-36 variables (p < 0.05). The DHI scores were strongly correlated with the oscillopsia severity scores (r = 0.75; p < 0.000001). The short FES-I scores indicated a slight to moderate increase in the patients' fear of falling. No significant score differences were found between BV patients with residual otolithic function and patients with complete BV. There was no correlation between hearing status and SF-36 scores. The results correlate with our clinical impression that BV has a strong negative impact on physical and social functioning, leading to a quality-of-life deterioration. There is a clear need for a therapeutic solution. Efforts toward the development of a vestibular implant are justified.

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