Send to

Choose Destination

See 1 citation in J Vestib Res 2005:

J Vestib Res. 2005;15(2):109-17.

The balance control of bilateral peripheral vestibular loss subjects and its improvement with auditory prosthetic feedback.

Author information

Department of ORL, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.



We investigated whether long-term bilateral vestibular loss subjects could combine auditory biofeedback of trunk sway with their remaining natural sensory inputs on balance to provide an improved control of trunk sway. A successful integration of natural and artificial signals would provide a basis for a balance prosthesis.


Trunk sway of 6 bilateral peripheral vestibular loss subjects (BVL) was recorded using either angular position- or velocity-based auditory feedback or no feedback during stance and gait tasks. Roll and pitch trunk movements were recorded with angular velocity transducers mounted just above the waist and feedback without a delay to 4 loudspeakers placed at the left, right, front and rear borders of the 5 m long by 4 m wide test environment. The two types of auditory feedback or no feedback were provided to the subjects in random order. In the feedback modes, sway greater than a preset angle (ca. 0.5 deg) or velocity (ca. 3 deg/s) thresholds caused a tone to be emitted from the speaker towards which the subject moved. The tone volume increased with increasing angle or angular velocity amplitude.


For all stance tasks BVL subjects without auditory feedback had a significantly different balance control with respect to that of normal controls. BVL sway values eyes open on a normal surface were reduced with auditory feedback with the greatest reductions in the roll plane. Specifically for the task of standing on 1 leg eyes open with position-auditory- feedback, amplitudes of pitch and roll angles and angular velocities were indistinguishable from those of normal controls. Sway during stance tasks on foam with eyes closed showed no improvement with feedback, remaining greater than normal. For some gait tasks there was a decrease in trunk sway with velocity feedback.


These initial results indicate that subjects with vestibular loss could incorporate the auditory prosthetic sensory information into their balance commands, particularly in the roll plane if the balance task is performed with eyes open. Position information appears more useful than velocity information in reducing trunk sway during stance tasks. Future work will need to determine the effect of a training time on the improvement in balance control using such a prosthetic device and the ideal position and velocity auditory feedback combination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for IOS Press
Loading ...
Support Center