Objective: Existing scales of functional performance are either insufficiently sensitive or omit some important daily life tasks. This paper demonstrates that a new scale of self-perceived disablement in the vestibularly impaired population-the Vestibular Disorders Activities of Daily Living Scale (VADL)-differentiates between disabled and healthy persons and evaluates the associations of this assessment with other measures of vestibular disorders.
Study design: Prospective.
Methods: Subjects were 1) asymptomatic, healthy adults, 2) patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, 3) patients with chronic vestibulopathy excluding Meniere's disease, postsurgical vertigo, and postconcussion vertigo, and 4) family members. Patient were assessed on the VADL, the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, level of vertigo, and computerized dynamic posturography. Healthy subjects and family members completed the VADL.
Results: The VADL differentiates healthy persons from patients but does not differentiate between patient groups. Patients perceived themselves as more independent than their spouses perceived them to be. Scores are weakly correlated with vertigo frequency and posturography scores for conditions with unreliable kinesthesia and absent or unreliable vision. The VADL is more responsive to higher levels of impairment than the Dizziness Handicap Inventory.
Conclusions: This well-normed, self-administered scale of self-perceived disablement is useful for evaluating the functional status of patients with peripheral vestibular disorders. Perceptions of patients and significant others vary, but scores are moderately correlated with some standard measures of vestibular function. As it assesses a different domain of function than do standard diagnostic tests, the VADL will augment these tests during initial evaluation and may be useful for assessing posttreatment change.