Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials in the diagnosis of superior canal dehiscence syndrome

S. O. Streubel, P. D. Cremer, J. P. Carey, N. Weg, L. B. Minor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with superior canal dehiscence (SCD) syndrome have vertigo and oscillopsia induced by loud noises and by stimuli that result in changes in middle ear or intracranial pressure. We recorded vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP responses) in 10 patients with SCD syndrome. The diagnosis had been confirmed in each case by evoked eye movements and by high-resolution CT scans of the temporal bones that showed a dehiscence overlying the affected superior canal. For the 8 patients without prior middle ear disease, the VEMP threshold from the dehiscent ears measured 72±8 dB NHL (normal hearing level) whereas the threshold from normal control subjects was 96±5 dB NHL (p<0.0001). The VEMP threshold measured from the contralateral ear in patients with unilateral dehiscence was 98±4 dB NHL (p>0.9 with respect to normal controls). Two patients with apparent conductive hearing loss from middle ear disease, and SCD, had VEMP responses from the affected ears. In the absence of dehiscence, VEMP responses would not have been expected in the setting of conductive hearing loss. These findings confirm earlier studies demonstrating that patients with SCD syndrome have lowered VEMP thresholds. Conditions other than SCD syndrome may also lead to lowered VEMP thresholds. Rather than being based upon a single test, the diagnosis of SCD syndrome is best established when the characteristic symptoms, signs, VEMP response, and CT imaging all indicate SCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica, Supplement
Issue number545
StatePublished - 2001


  • Hennebert sign
  • Oscillopsia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Tullio phenomenon
  • Vertigo
  • Vestibular-evoked myogenic potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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