Dizziness following head injury: a neuro-otological study

J Neurol. 1995 Mar;242(4):222-30. doi: 10.1007/BF00919595.


Dizziness is a frequent and debilitating complications of head injury and accounts for increasing numbers of medico-legal claims. A detailed neuro-otological study was carried out from the records of 100 patients with post-traumatic dizziness to explore the neuro-otological basis of their symptoms: 50 patients presenting for medico-legal purposes (group I) and 50 presenting for management of their vestibular symptoms (group II). The two groups showed a similar sex distribution, a similar range of causes of head injury and similar severity of head injury (72 minor, 24 moderate and 4 severe). Of the 100, 88 showed at least one audio-vestibular abnormality on testing. Vertigo of the benign positional paroxysmal type was the commonest vestibular diagnosis in both groups (61/100), and only 8 patients showed central vestibular abnormalities. Fifty-three patients had audiometric abnormalities attributable to the head injury, the commonest of which was a high-tone sensorineural hearing loss. There was no significant difference in the incidence of any of the abnormalities in the medico-legal group (group I) when compared with the symptom management group (group II). The results provide strong evidence for an organic basis to recurring dizziness after head injury, whether or not a claim for compensation is pending, and emphasize the need for specialist neuro-otological investigation if abnormalities are to be identified and managed correctly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Dizziness / etiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vertigo / epidemiology
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vestibular Function Tests