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Is There a Safe Level for Recording Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential? Evidence From Cochlear and Hearing Function Tests

Singh, Niraj Kumar1; Keloth, Nainitha Kizhake1; Sinha, Sachchidanand2,3

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000646
Research Article

Objective: There is a growing concern among the scientific community about the possible detrimental effects of signal levels used for eliciting vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) on hearing. A few recent studies showed temporary reduction in amplitude of otoacoustic emissions (OAE) after VEMP administration. Nonetheless, these studies used higher stimulus levels (133 and 130 dB peak equivalent sound pressure level [pe SPL]) than the ones often used (120 to 125 dB pe SPL) for clinical recording of VEMP. Therefore, it is not known whether these lower levels also have similar detrimental impact on hearing function. Hence, the present study aimed at investigating the effect of 500 Hz tone burst presented at 125 dB pe SPL on hearing functions.

Design: True experimental design, with an experimental and a control group, was used in this study. The study included 60 individuals with normal auditory and vestibular system. Of them, 30 underwent unilateral VEMP recording (group I) while the remaining 30 did not undergo VEMP testing (group II). Selection of participants to the groups was random. Pre- and post-VEMP assessments included pure-tone audiometry (250 to 16,000 Hz), distortion product OAE, and subjective symptoms. To simulate the time taken for VEMP testing in group I, participants in group II underwent these tests twice with a gap of 15 minutes.

Results: No participant experienced any subjective symptom after VEMP testing. There was no significant interear and intergroup difference in pure-tone thresholds and distortion product OAE amplitude before and after VEMP recording (p > 0.05). Furthermore, the response rate of cervical VEMP was 100% at stimulus intensity of 125 dB pe SPL.

Conclusions: Use of 500 Hz tone burst at 125 dB pe SPL does not cause any temporary or permanent changes in cochlear function and hearing, yet produces 100% response rate of cervical VEMP in normal-hearing young adults. Therefore, 125 dB pe SPL of 500 Hz tone burst is recommended as safe level for obtaining cervical VEMP without significantly losing out on its response rate, at least in normal-hearing young adults.

1Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, Karnataka, India

2Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

3Department of ENT, BASLP Course, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Medical College, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India.

Received August 19, 2017; accepted June 13, 2018.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address for correspondence: Niraj Kumar Singh, Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagangothri, Mysore 570006, Karnataka, India. E-mail:

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