Cognitive Function in Acquired Bilateral Vestibulopathy: A Cross-Sectional Study on Cognition, Hearing, and Vestibular Loss

Bieke Dobbels*, Grief Mertens, Annick Gilles, Annes Claes, Julie Moyaert, Raymond van de Berg, Paul Van de Heyning, Olivier Vanderveken, Vincent Van Rompaey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Several studies have demonstrated cognitive deficits in patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP). So far, little attention has been paid to the hearing status of vestibular patients when evaluating their cognition. Given the well-established link between sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and cognitive decline and the high prevalence of SNHL in BVP patients, it is therefore uncertain if the cognitive deficits in BVP patients are solely due to their vestibular loss or might be, partially, explained by a concomitant SNHL.

Objective: To evaluate the link between cognition, hearing, and vestibular loss in BVP patients.

Design: Prospective cross-sectional analysis of cognitive performance in patients with BVP and control participants without vestibular loss. Both groups included subjects with a variety of hearing (dys) function. Cognition was assessed by means of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status for Hearing Impaired Individuals (RBANS-H).

Results: Sixty-four BVP patients were evaluated and compared with 83 control participants. For each subscale and the totale RBANS-H scale a multiple linear regression model was fitted with the following variables: vestibular loss, hearing loss, age, gender, and education. Hearing loss seemed to be associated with worse outcome on the total RBANS-H scale and subscales immediate memory and language. Vestibular loss, on the other hand, was linked to worse performance on the attention subscale of the RBANS-H. Furthermore, we did not observe a correlation between saccular function and cognition.

Conclusion: This study has found general cognitive deficits in a large sample size of BVP patients. Multiple linear regression models revealed that both vestibular and hearing dysfunction were associated with different subscales of the cognitive test battery, the RBANS-H. Whereas hearing loss was associated with worse performance on total RBANS-H score, immediate memory and language, vestibular loss was observed to negatively affect attention performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number340
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019


  • bilateral vestibulopathy
  • hearing loss
  • sensorineural
  • COCH protein
  • human
  • causality
  • cognition
  • TASK

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