Prevalence and diagnosis of vestibular disorders in children: a review

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 May;78(5):718-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2014.02.009. Epub 2014 Feb 15.


Objectives: To systematically review and discuss the main pathologies associated with vertigo and dizziness in children, paying particular attention to recent advances in diagnosis and therapy.

Methods: One appropriate string was run on PubMed to retrieve articles dealing with the topics mentioned above. A cross-check was performed on citations and full-text articles found using the selected inclusion and exclusion criteria. A non-comparative meta-analysis concerning the rate of singular vertiginous forms was performed.

Results: Ten articles were identified comprising a total of 724 subjects. Overall, the articles we analyzed indicated benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood (18.7%) and migraine-associated vertigo (17.6%) as the two main entities connected with vertigo and dizziness in children. Head trauma (14%) was the third most common cause of vertigo. The mean (95% CI) rate of every vertiginous form was also calculated in relation to the nine studies analyzed with vestibular migraine (27.82%), benign paroxysmal vertigo (15.68%) and vestibular neuritis (9.81%) being the three most common forms. There appeared to be a paucity of recent literature concerning the development of new diagnostic methods and therapies.

Conclusions: On the basis of the literature study, when evaluating a young patient with vertigo and dizziness, the otolaryngologist should be aware that, in children, these symptoms are often connected to different pathologies in comparison to the entities observed in the adult population.

Keywords: Children; Dizziness; Head trauma; Migraine; Vertigo; Vestibular neuritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / diagnosis
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / epidemiology
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnosis
  • Dizziness / diagnosis
  • Dizziness / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vertigo / diagnosis
  • Vertigo / epidemiology
  • Vertigo / etiology
  • Vestibular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vestibular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Vestibular Diseases / etiology*
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vestibular Neuronitis / complications*
  • Vestibular Neuronitis / diagnosis