Is bilateral vestibular hypofunction a recognized diagnosis? Yes, though medical professionals may use different terms for this condition. Some may refer to it as vestibular weakness, bilateral vestibular failure, bilateral vestibular loss or bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP). We use the term BVP on our website. This is the term used by the Bárány Society, an international organization for vestibular research, that published the classification of BVP in 2017. BVP is damage to the vestibular system in the inner ear. “Bilateral” means the damage is on both sides. BVP is a common cause of balance problems and falls, especially in older people. In one study, people with BVP were 31 times more likely to fall, and 1 in 4 said they had recently been injured in a fall. BVP can also cause blurred vision or a sensation that the eyes and/or the environment “bounce” when the person is moving. The problems get worse in the dark or when the person is walking on uneven ground. Avoiding unsafe situations can help prevent falls. Vestibular rehabilitation is a helpful treatment strategy for BVP. For more information, read our article on BVP.
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