Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



American Journal of Audiology, in Press. Published on December 22, 2009 as doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2009/09-0013) Copyright 2009 by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The final version is at


PURPOSE: Audiologists frequently encounter patients who complain of chronic dizziness or imbalance, in the absence of active vestibular or neurological deficits. Knowledge about conditions that cause this clinical presentation will allow audiologists to make important contributions to accurate diagnosis and effective management of these patients. This article reviews two such conditions, chronic subjective dizziness (CSD) and conversion disorder. METHOD: A case of CSD and another of conversion disorder are presented with a literature review of their clinical presentations, key diagnostic features, and treatment strategies. The role of the audiologist in assessing patients with these conditions and facilitating appropriate treatment referrals is discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The audiologist is in a key position to identify individuals with CSD and conversion disorder, two conditions that can be effectively managed if properly recognized. The authors demonstrate an effective team-approach program that includes the audiologist's contribution to differential diagnosis, education of patients and other clinicians about these conditions and development of recommendations for neurologic, psychiatric, otologic, and physical therapy referrals.