Predictive factors for vestibular loss in children with hearing loss

Kristen L. Janky, Megan L.A. Thomas, Robin R. High, Kendra K. Schmid, Oluwaseye Ayoola Ogun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if there are factors that can predict whether a child with hearing loss will also have vestibular loss. Method: A retrospective chart review was completed on 186 children with hearing loss seen at Boys Town National Research Hospital for vestibular testing from 1999 to 2015 through neurosensory genetics clinic or cochlear implant candidacy. Each child’s medical chart was reviewed to obtain the following data: vestibular loss severity (classified as normal, bilateral, or mild to moderate), degree of hearing loss (bilateral pure-tone average [PTA]), imaging abnormalities (classified as “normal” or “abnormal”), parental concerns for gross motor delay (classified as “yes, there is concern” or “no, there is not a concern”), parent report of age when their child sat (months) and walked independently (months), comorbidities (classified as “yes” if there were 1 or more comorbidities or “no” if there were no comorbidities), and score on the Developmental Profile-3. Results: Children were grouped according to vestibular loss severity; 115 children had normal vestibular function, 31 had bilateral vestibular loss, and 40 had mild-to-moderate vestibular loss. As severity of vestibular loss increased, children (a) sat and walked later, (b) scored more poorly on the Developmental Profile-3 physical subscale, (c) had more severe hearing loss, (d) had parents who more frequently reported concern for gross motor delay, and (e) were more likely to have other comorbidities. Of these factors, age-to-sit, age-to-walk, PTA, and parental concerns for gross motor developmental delay had the greatest ability to differentiate children with vestibular loss from children with normal vestibular function. For age-to-sit, using a cutoff value of 7.25 months yielded a sensitivity of 62% and a specificity of 81%. For age-to-walk, a cutoff value of 14.5 months yielded a sensitivity of 78% and a specificity of 77%. For PTA for the neurosensory genetics group, a cutoff value of 40 dB yielded a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 55%; however, a cutoff value of 66 dB yielded a sensitivity of 33% and an improved specificity of 91%. Conclusions: A referral for vestibular evaluation should be considered for children whose hearing loss is greater than 66 dB and particularly those who sit later than 7.25 months or walk later than 14.5 months or whose parents report concerns for gross motor development. Collectively, these factors appear to be more sensitive for identifying children with bilateral vestibular loss compared with children with mild-to-moderate vestibular loss. Because of the benefit of physical therapy, children identified with vestibular loss should then be referred to physical therapy for further evaluation and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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