What is the quality of life (QoL) burden of vestibular loss in older individuals?
Loss of vestibular function with aging significantly decreases QoL across multiple domains of well-being, and these reductions in well-being are also responsible for heavy societal economic burdens.
Explore this issue:January 2018
Background: The vestibular system is integral to balance control, locomotion, and spatial navigation. Loss of vestibular function can be a debilitating condition that causes imbalance, unsteady vision, and a 12-fold increased risk of falls and fall-associated morbidity. Vestibular function declines with age and older individuals are disproportionately affected by vestibular loss. The increased prevalence of vestibular loss in the older population has potentially substantial economic and societal consequences.
Despite the greater prevalence of vestibular loss in older adults and its associated functional limitations, the quality of life (QoL) burden of vestibular loss in this vulnerable population has not been well studied. The few studies that have reported QoL outcomes considered the broader symptom of dizziness rather than specifically vestibular physiologic impairment, did not have a normative-age-matched comparison group available, or were conducted across a broad age range including younger age groups.