Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2023 , Vol 69 , Num 3

Effectiveness of virtual reality therapy in chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction: A randomized controlled study

Zohre Hasimova 1 ,Tugba Sahbaz 2 ,Basak Cigdem Karacay 3 ,Ayse Karan 1
1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Istanbul University Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Türkiye
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Beykent University Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Türkiye
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Kırşehir Ahi Evran University Faculty of Medicine, Kırşehir, Türkiye
DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2023.12360 Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the superiority of rehabilitation with virtual reality (Nintendo Wii) over habituation exercises in chronic vestibular hypofunction.

Patients and methods: Eighty-seven patients (44 males, 43 females; mean age: 45.8±12.2 years; range, 19 to 70 years) with chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction were included in the prospective randomized controlled study conducted between October 2017 and June 2018. Patients were randomized into two groups: the treatment group (TG; n=45) and the control group (n=42). Each group received vestibular rehabilitation exercises. The TG exercised with visual stimulation (virtual reality) in addition to the standard exercises. The patients were evaluated before the treatment and at two and three months. The frequency of dizziness was questioned. Visual analog scale, timed up and go test, Berg balance test, Romberg test, and Dizziness Handicap Inventory questionnaire were used to assess the patients.

Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in the severity of dizziness in both groups at two- and three-month controls (p<0.001). In the comparison between the groups, severity of dizziness, frequency of attacks, and daily frequency were significantly improved in the TG (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Adding virtual reality therapy to habituation exercises is effective in reducing the frequency of attacks. Keywords : Chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction, habituation exercises, vestibular rehabilitation, virtual reality, visual stimulation