Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Frederick Cobb, Ph.D., Chair

Co-Major Professor

Richard A. Roberts, Ph.D., Co-Chair

Committee Member

Raymond M.Hurley, Ph.D.


nystagmus, electronystagmography, vertigo, benign proximal positional vertigo


The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of nystagmus found in healthy individuals during the positional testing subtest of the standard vestibular test battery. Positional testing involves moving the patient's head, and sometimes the entire body, into a variety of positions while observing eye movement. The hypothesis of the current study was that a relatively low percentage of participants would display nystagmus during positional testing used routinely in clinical diagnostic procedures. The findings were then compared to those of an earlier study in which 82% of normal, healthy individuals were reported to exhibit nystagmus during this testing.

Twenty-five participants were selected that had no known otologic disease and who reported normal hearing sensitivity. In addition, the participants affirmed they had not consumed any alcohol or taken any medications that are known to affect nystagmus. They were then observed in nine different positions. Forty-eight percent of the participants experienced nystagmus in at least one position. Although this percentage was considerably lower than that reported in the earlier study, methodological differences appear to account for the discrepancy. Specifically, the criterion for determining the presence/absence of nystagmus potentially explains the difference in full.