Inertial Measurement Unit-Based Romberg Test for Assessing Adults With Vestibular Hypofunction

Kuan Chung Ting, Yu Chieh Lin, Chia Tai Chan, Tzong Yang Tu, Chun Che Shih*, Kai Chun Liu*, Yu Tsao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work aims to explore the utility of wearable inertial measurement units (IMUs) for quantifying movement in Romberg tests and investigate the extent of movement in adults with vestibular hypofunction (VH). A cross-sectional study was conducted at an academic tertiary medical center between March 2021 and April 2022. Adults diagnosed with unilateral vestibular hypofunction (UVH) or bilateral vestibular hypofunction (BVH) were enrolled in the VH group. Healthy controls (HCs) were recruited from community or outpatient clinics. The IMU-based instrumented Romberg and tandem Romberg tests on the floor were applied to both groups. The primary outcomes were kinematic body metrics (maximum acceleration [ACC], mean ACC, root mean square [RMS] of ACC, and mean sway velocity [MV]) along the medio-lateral (ML), cranio-caudal (CC), and antero-posterior (AP) axes. A total of 31 VH participants (mean age, 33.48 [SD 7.68] years; 19 [61%] female) and 31 HCs (mean age, 30.65 [SD 5.89] years; 18 [58%] female) were recruited. During the eyes-closed portion of the Romberg test, VH participants demonstrated significantly higher maximum ACC and increased RMS of ACC in head movement, as well as higher maximum ACC in pelvic movement along the ML axis. In the same test condition, individuals with BVH exhibited notably higher maximum ACC and RMS of ACC along the ML axis in head and pelvic movements compared with HCs. Additionally, BVH participants exhibited markedly increased maximum ACC along the ML axis in head movement during the eyes-open portion of the tandem Romberg test. Conversely, no significant differences were found between UVH participants and HCs in the assessed parameters. The instrumented Romberg and tandem Romberg tests characterized the kinematic differences in head, pelvis, and ankle movement between VH and healthy adults. The findings suggest that these kinematic body metrics can be useful for screening BVH and can provide goals for vestibular rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine
StatePublished - 2024


  • inertial measurement units
  • Romberg test
  • tandem Romberg test
  • Vestibular hypofunction
  • wearable sensor


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