Bone conduction vibration (BCV) vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) are clinically desirable in children for multiple reasons. However, no accepted standard exists for stimulus type and the reliability of BCV devices has not been investigated in children. The objective of the current study was to determine which BCV VEMP method (B-71, impulse hammer, or Mini-shaker) yields the highest response rates and reliability in a group of adults, adolescents, and children. It was hypothesized that the Mini-shaker would yield the highest response rates and reliability because it provides frequency specificity, higher output levels without distortion, and the most consistent force output as compared to the impulse hammer and B-71.
Participants included 10 child (ages 5 to 10), 11 adolescent (ages 11 to 18), and 11 young adult (ages 23 to 39) normal controls. Cervical VEMP (cVEMP) and ocular VEMP (oVEMP) were measured in response to suprathreshold air-conducted, 500 Hz tone bursts and 3 types of BCV (B-71, impulse hammer, and Mini-shaker) across 2 test sessions to assess reliability.
For cVEMP, response rates were 100% for all methods in all groups with the exception of the adult group in response to the impulse hammer (95%). For oVEMP, response rates varied by group and BCV method. For cVEMP, reliability was highest in adults using the Mini-shaker, in adolescents using the impulse hammer, and in children using the B-71. For oVEMP, reliability was highest in adults using the Mini-shaker, in adolescents using the Mini-shaker or impulse hammer, and in children using the impulse hammer. Age positively correlated with air-conducted oVEMP amplitude, but not cVEMP amplitude or cVEMP corrected amplitude. Age negatively correlated with all BCV VEMP amplitudes with the exception of cVEMP corrected amplitude in response to the Mini-shaker.
All BCV methods resulted in consistent cVEMP responses (response rates 95 to 100%) with at least moderate reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥ 0.5) for all groups. Similarly, all BCV methods resulted in consistent oVEMP responses (89 to 100%) with at least moderate reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥ 0.5) except for the B-71 in adults.