Am J Audiol. 2023 Nov 2:1-6. doi: 10.1044/2023_AJA-23-00100. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Dizziness and imbalance are common symptoms during the acute phase of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, there is evidence to suggest that these symptoms persist into the chronic phase of injury. Few prospective studies have examined the frequency and type of dizziness and imbalance in adults with chronic moderate-severe TBI. The aim of this preliminary analysis was to investigate the prevalence of these symptoms in adults with chronic moderate-severe TBI.
METHOD: Twenty-four adults with chronic moderate-severe TBI and a group of 19 age-, sex-, and education-matched noninjured comparison participants were recruited. Self-reported dizziness and imbalance were measured using a modified version of a standard case history form. Significant associations between group (TBI group or noninjured comparison [NC] participants) and self-reports of dizziness, imbalance, and related symptoms (endorsed “yes” or “no”) were explored.
RESULTS: The TBI group most reported lightheadedness (75%), vertigo (38%), and imbalance and/or falling (46%). The most common related symptom reported by the TBI group was headache (63%) and nausea (46%). Significant associations revealed that the TBI group responded “yes” in higher percentages than the NC group across all categories (dizziness, imbalance, and related symptoms). There were no statistically significant relationships among dizziness, imbalance, or headache symptoms within the TBI group.
CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings suggest that dizziness and imbalance are prevalent in adults with chronic moderate-severe TBI. Persistent vertiginous symptoms may point to an underlying vestibular impairment. However, further research is needed to characterize vestibular function in chronic moderate-severe TBI.