Background: A common impairment with vestibular disorders is diminished balance. Previous systematic reviews have analyzed the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) systems in vestibular rehabilitation in both clinical and home settings. However, none have specifically focused on the improvement of balance with VR systems in individuals with peripheral vestibular disorders.
Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the efficacy of using VR systems to treat balance impairments in individuals with peripheral vestibular disorders.
Methods: Two searches were completed, the first in August 2020 and the second in January 2021. Databases searched included: EBSCOhost (CINAHL Complete and Medline) and PubMed. Search terms for the EBSCOhost databases included: ‘virtual reality OR vr OR augmented reality’ AND ‘vestibular rehabilitation OR vestibular therapy’. For PubMed, the search terms were ‘virtual reality AND vestibular disorders’ and ‘virtual reality AND balance’. A single hand search was also utilized.
Results: Ten articles were included for analysis. This systematic review determined that virtual reality systems are an effective way to improve balance in individuals with peripheral vestibular disorders. Previous literature was also supported in that it is best to combine VR rehabilitation with conventional vestibular rehabilitation exercises for the most effective treatment of individuals with peripheral vestibular disorders.
Conclusions: Future research should focus on standardizing an outcome measure to best assess balance changes in individuals with peripheral vestibular disorders as a result of using VR-based treatments. This would also allow for further analysis of the effectiveness of different types of VR systems in vestibular rehabilitation.
virtual reality, vestibular rehabilitation, balance
Medicine and Health Sciences
Fitch, Alexander; Forsyth, Leanne; Freeman, Jennifer; and Vogl, Kailey, "Efficacy of Using Virtual Reality Systems to Enhance Balance in Individuals With Vestibular Disorders: A Systematic Review" (2021). Student Research Poster Presentations 2021. 18.