2024 American Balance Society Travel Award

Supporting Vestibular Research

Each year VeDA partners with professional associations that serve the vestibular community to support clinical research that improves outcomes for vestibular patients through travel awards to vestibular researchers who are sharing their important research findings at vestibular healthcare conferences. We are pleased to announce that Evalena Behr, AuD from the Cleveland Clinic has been awarded for her research Referral Pathways for Dizziness and Vertigo: Where Should the Patient Go? Dr. Behr will be presenting her research at the American Balance Society Annual Meeting.

Below are the three research presentations that were considered for the grant.

Referral Pathways for Dizziness and Vertigo: Where Should the Patient Go?

Author: Evalena Behr, AuD, Cleveland Clinic


Patients with dizziness complaints are commonly referred to vestibular rehabilitation to manage symptoms. Vestibular therapy is best practice in cases of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV); however, if the true etiology or confirmation of suspected vestibular disorder has not been fully evaluated, patients may not have complete resolution of symptoms. Comprehensive vestibular evaluation as part of an objective vestibular test battery (VTB) may provide additional diagnostic information, which can help guide vestibular rehabilitation. This study was a retrospective review of adult patients ages 18 years old and older who were evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic or other outside facilities for vestibular physical therapy. Patients included had a history of dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, or related symptoms. Physical therapists first saw patients for vestibular rehabilitation and then audiologists for a vestibular test battery. The time frame included 10 months, with approximately 101 charts reviewed. A comparison sample of approximately 100 patients’ records was reviewed from patients evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic audiology section for vestibular test battery and then referred to physical therapy for vestibular rehabilitation. The median number of vestibular PT sessions prior to referral for VTB was five (range: 1-23 sessions). In over 60% of the patients, new information was provided from the vestibular test battery that changed the course of treatment and plan of care for the patients. These results may provide insights into clinical care pathways for patients with dizziness and when to initiate referrals for objective vestibular testing. Interprofessional collaboration between Vestibular Audiology and Vestibular Physical therapy can help support the patient and create new outcomes or care plans; however, there needs to be a well-defined clinical practice guideline regarding referral pathways for patients with vestibular-related symptoms.

Falls as a Public Health Concern

Author: Patricia Gaffney, Nova Southeastern University

Falls are both an individual issue, but also an overall public health issue. As clinicians we evaluate each patient at a time. Public health serves as a mechanism to evaluate the health of communities beyond a single individual. This is particularly important when looking at health disparities.

Healthy People 2030 is a United States dataset that focuses on improving the health and well-being of the country over the next decade through the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. There are 359 measurable objectives in Healthy People 2030. The foundation of these objectives focuses on social determinants of health and health disparities. Among the 359 objectives there are four that this talk will focus on in relation to falls. The four objectives are reduce emergency department visits for nonfatal unintentional injuries (IVP‑04), reduce the rate of emergency department visits due to falls among older adults (OA‑03), reduce fall-related deaths among older adults (IVP‑08), and reduce fatal traumatic brain injuries (IVP‑05).
This talk will review Healthy People 2030 and its mission, health disparities of our older adults, how social determinants of health impact falls, and the four objectives with key supporting data.

Pearls and Pitfalls of Developing a Pediatric Vestibular Program

Author: Nour El Hidek, AuD

Children with hearing loss are at a higher risk of developing vestibular impairment. Vestibular impairment in children can lead to delayed gross motor skills, reduced dynamic visual acuity, and in combination with hearing loss can impact cognitive and psychosocial development. These consequences highlight the need for proper diagnosis of vestibular impairment in children with hearing loss and those who are at a higher risk of developing vestibular loss. While pediatric vestibular testing is important, it is not widely performed due to the limited availability of testing centers trained in pediatric vestibular testing. At the Medical University of South Carolina, we recently began a pediatric vestibular program, with a specific focus on vestibular testing of newborns at high risk for vestibular impairment and cochlear implant candidates. This presentation will review the ongoing process of initiating a pediatric vestibular program within a well-established vestibular center for adults, including: the steps taken to provide training and education to patients and providers and the challenges faced with billing, resources, and building an interdisciplinary team. The progress of the program and interesting cases encountered will also be shared. This presentation will be particularly helpful for centers thinking of initiating a pediatric vestibular program.