Balance disorders in elderly patients are associated with an increased risk of falls but are often difficult to diagnose because of comorbid chronic medical problems. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of unrecognized benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and associated lifestyle sequelae in a public, inner-city geriatric population. Dizziness was found in 61% of patients, whereas balance disorders were found in 77% of patients. Nine percent were found to have unrecognized BPPV. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the presence of a spinning sensation and the absence of a lightheadedness sensation predicted the presence of unrecognized BPPV. Patients with unrecognized BPPV were more likely to have reduced activities of daily living scores, to have sustained a fall in the previous 3 months, and to have depression. These data indicate that unrecognized BPPV is common within the elderly population and has associated morbidity. Further prospective studies are warranted.