Agreement between the Skull Vibration-Induced Nystagmus Test and Semicircular Canal and Otolith Asymmetry

Yue Zhang, Jamie Soper, Christine M. Lohse, Scott D.Z. Eggers, Kenton R. Kaufman, Devin L. McCaslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background How significant asymmetries in otolith organ function in the presence of symmetrical and asymmetrical semicircular canal function influence skull vibration-induced nystagmus testing (SVINT) has not been well described. Purpose The aim of the study is to examine the agreement between SVINT and caloric testing, ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (oVEMP), and cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMP) for detecting asymmetric vestibular function. Research Design This is a retrospective study of patients presenting with the chief complaint of vertigo, dizziness, or imbalance. Study Sample A total of 812 patients were studied with a median age at testing of 59 years (interquartile range 46-70; range 18-93) and included 475 (59%) women. Intervention Either the monothermal warm caloric test or alternate binaural bithermal caloric test, oVEMP, and cVEMP tests were administered to all patients. All patients underwent the SVINT prior to vestibular laboratory testing. Data Collection and Analysis Agreement between tests categorized as normal versus abnormal was summarized using percent concordance (PC). Sensitivity and specificity values were calculated for SVINT compared with other tests of vestibular function. Results There was higher agreement between ipsilateral and contralateral SVINT with the caloric test (PC = 80% and 81%, respectively) compared with oVEMP (PC = 63% and 64%, respectively) and cVEMP (PC = 76% and 78%, respectively). Ipsilateral and contralateral SVINT showed higher sensitivity for the caloric test (sensitivity = 47% and 36%, respectively) compared with oVEMP (sensitivity = 26% and 21%, respectively), or cVEMP (sensitivity = 33% vs. 27%, respectively). Specificity of SVINT was high (>80%) for all assessments of vestibular function. Conclusion The presence of SVIN is a useful indicator of the asymmetry of vestibular function between the two ears when making judgments about semicircular canal asymmetry but is less sensitive to asymmetries in otolith organ function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • cVEMP
  • caloric test
  • oVEMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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