Preferred Name

Valerie Beacham

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Erin G. Piker


For patients with vestibular impairments, postural stability alone can be demanding but is more taxing when an individual’s attention is focused on both maintaining balance and a secondary/cognitive task simultaneously. Thus, dual task paradigms where balance must be maintained while performing postural and cognitive tasks concurrently provides an assessment on one’s attentional resources available for balance. Previous studies show varying levels of dual task effects in patients with vestibular loss with little consistency between studies regarding choice of balance and cognitive tasks. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of a dual task paradigm using portable instrumentation and under conditions hypothesized to be more difficult for patients with vestibular loss. Postural stability was assessed using a Romberg on foam over a Wii board where both anterior-posterior and medial-lateral sway could be quantified. The cognitive task was a Stroop test administered under cardboard google glasses, yielding an equivalent of a vision-denied condition. Participants were divided into three instructional groups. Results showed a measurable dual task effect consistent with the posture first hypothesis in which postural task was prioritized over cognitive task; however, the effect was dependent on instruction group. The clinical significance of these findings will be discussed.



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