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Normalizing cVEMPs

Which Method Is the Most Effective?

van Tilburg, Mark J.1; Herrmann, Barbara S.2,3; Rauch, Steven D.1,2; Noij, Kimberley1; Guinan, John J. Jr2,4

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000668
Research Article

Objectives: To determine the most effective method for normalizing cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMPs).

Design: cVEMP data from 20 subjects with normal hearing and vestibular function were normalized using 16 combinations of methods, each using one of the 4 modes of electromyogram (EMG) quantification described below. All methods used the peak to peak value of an averaged cVEMP waveform (VEMPpp) and obtained a normalized cVEMP by dividing VEMPpp by a measure of the EMG amplitude. EMG metrics were obtained from the EMG within short- and long-duration time windows. EMG amplitude was quantified by its root-mean-square (RMS) or average full-wave-rectified (RECT) value. The EMG amplitude was used by (a) dividing each individual trace by the EMG of this specific trace, (b) dividing VEMPpp by the average RMS or RECT of the individual trace EMG, (c) dividing the VEMPpp by an EMG metric obtained from the average cVEMP waveform, or (d) dividing the VEMPpp by an EMG metric obtained from an average cVEMP “noise” waveform. Normalization methods were compared by the normalized cVEMP coefficient of variation across subjects and by the area under the curve from a receiver-operating-characteristic analysis. A separate analysis of the effect of EMG-window duration was done.

Results: There were large disparities in the results from different normalization methods. The best methods used EMG metrics from individual-trace EMG measurements, not from part of the average cVEMP waveform. EMG quantification by RMS or RECT produced similar results. For most EMG quantifications, longer window durations were better in producing receiver-operating-characteristic with high areas under the curve. However, even short window durations worked well when the EMG metric was calculated from the average RMS or RECT of the individual-trace EMGs. Calculating the EMG from a long-duration window of a cVEMP “noise” average waveform was almost as good as the individual-trace-EMG methods.

Conclusions: The best cVEMP normalizations use EMG quantification from individual-trace EMGs. To have the normalized cVEMPs accurately reflect the vestibular activation, a good normalization method needs to be used.

1Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

2Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

3Department of Audiology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

4Eaton Peabody Lab, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Received February 26, 2018; accepted August 17, 2018.

Address for correspondence: Steven D. Rauch, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA. E-mail:

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