Dizziness and vertigo in an older population: the Blue Mountains prospective cross-sectional study

B. Gopinath, C. M. McMahon, E. Rochtchina, P. Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We aimed to reassess the prevalence and personal burden of dizziness/vertigo, and to assess the relationship with hearing loss and tinnitus in older adults. Design: Prospective cross-sectional study. Setting: Blue Mountains region, west of Sydney, Australia. Participants: We examined 2751 of 2956 (aged 50+ years) Blue Mountains Hearing Study participants. Main outcome measures: Audiologists screened participants for reported dizziness using a single question. Questions from the Dizziness Handicap Inventory were used to assess the impacts of dizziness/vertigo. Hearing impairment was determined as the pure-tone average of audiometric hearing thresholds at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz (PTA0.5-4 KHz), defining any hearing loss as PTA 0.5-4 KHz >25 dB HL. Presence of tinnitus was assessed by a positive response to a single question. Quality of life was measured using the Short Form 36-item Health Survey (SF-36). Each SF-36 dimension was scored from 0 (worst possible health state) to 100 (best possible health state). Results: Prevalences of dizziness/vertigo, vestibular vertigo and non-vestibular vertigo were 36.2%, 10.0% and 14.2%, respectively. Of the dizziness/vertigo reports, 27.7% and 39.3%, respectively, were attributed to vestibular and non-vestibular vertigo. Tinnitus was associated with dizziness, odds ratio, OR, 1.99 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.68-2.35). However, hearing loss was not associated with dizziness/vertigo. Participants reporting dizziness/vertigo had lower quality of life scores (P < 0.0001). Participants reporting vestibular vertigo were more likely than those with non-vestibular vertigo to report higher DHI scale scores or a greater handicap. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the burden imposed by dizziness, indicating dizziness/vertigo are important public health care issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-556
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


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