Normative values of vibratory perception in 530 children, juveniles and adults aged 3-79 years

J Neurol Sci. 1998 Aug 14;159(2):219-25. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(98)00177-4.


Impaired vibratory perception is an early and frequent finding in various neuropathies. Quantitative vibratory threshold assessment refines the diagnosis of neuropathies but is based on psychophysical techniques requiring patient cooperation. Large, age and sex matched normative data bases are needed to better identify abnormal vibratory perception. In this study vibratory perception was tested at the second metacarpal bone and above the first metatarsal bone of 530 children, juveniles and adults aged 3.3-79.2 years. Thresholds assessed with a 128 Hz graded Rydel-Seiffer tuning fork, TF, were compared to three Vibrameter values, the vibration perception thresholds, VPT, determined with increasing vibration stimuli, the vibration disappearance threshold, VDT, determined with decreasing supraliminal stimuli, and the vibration threshold VT which equals the mean of VPT and VDT. The influence of gender, age, body height, weight and skin temperature at the tested site on thresholds was studied. Retest reliability was tested in 73 children aged 3.3-6.9 years and in 20 volunteers aged 5.2-66.1 years who were also tested for the influence of pretest skin warming on thresholds and for differences between results of the left and right body side. TF, VPT, VDT, VT were closely correlated with each other (Spearman: -0.67<Rs<-0.47; P<0.01). The skin temperature, body side, weight and height did not influence thresholds. In adults, thresholds increased with age and were higher in men above the age of 50 than in women of the same age. Thresholds at the feet were higher than at the hands (Wilcoxon: P<0.001). Retest reliability was high and did not depend on the retest interval. The study provides important normative data for the widespread use of quantitative vibration testing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Temperature / physiology*
  • Vibration