Vestibular Function and Aging
Agrawal et al (2012) studied vestibular function on 50 adults over age 70 years. The vestibular system contains five organs on each side—the three semi-circular canals (SCCs, horizontal, anterior and posterior) and the two otoliths (saccule and utricle). The tests used to evaluate vestibular function in these patients included Head Thrust Dynamic Visual Acuity Testing, and Cervical and Ocular Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMPs).
Agrawal et al determined a "global" decline in SCCs and otolith function associated with aging. Of note, the magnitude of impairment associated with aging was greater for SCCs than otoliths, however, each of the five vestibular end-organs demonstrated apparent age-related declines in these subjects, as compared to younger subjects. The vast majority of these subjects had SCC dysfunction, approximately half had abnormal sacular dysfunction and one fifth demonstrated utricular impairment.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Agrawal Y, Zuniga MG, Davalos-Bichara M, Schubert MC, Walston JD, Hughes J, Carey JP. (2012) Decline in Semicircular Canal and Otolith Function with Age. Otology & Neurotology 33:832-839.