The burden of vestibular disorders among military health system (MHS) beneficiaries, fiscal years 2018–2019

M. Aaron Sayegh, Amanda Banaag, Jessica Korona-Bailey, Cathaleen Madsen*, Amanda Frank, Tracey Pérez Koehlmoos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Vestibular disorders affect an estimated 33 million adults and 3.5 million children and adolescents in the United States. Previous research relying on self-reported symptoms versus actual diagnosis has limited the ability to provide prevalence estimates for specific vestibular disorders at the population level. This study seeks to describe the burden of vestibular disorders among children and working-age adult beneficiaries in the Military Health System (MHS). Materials and methods Using the MHS Data Repository (MDR), we conducted a cross-sectional study of all TRICARE Prime and Plus MHS beneficiaries aged 0 to 64 years from fiscal years (FY) 2018 to 2019. Study analyses included descriptive statistics of patient demographics and assessing the prevalence of vestibular disorders in pediatric and working-age adult beneficiaries. Results Of the 5,541,932 TRICARE Prime/Prime Plus MHS beneficiaries, 52,878 (0.95%) had a diagnosis of vestibular disorder during fiscal years 2018 to 2019, of which 1,359 were pediatric and adolescents (aged 0 to 17 years) and 51,519 were working-age adults (18 to 64 years). Vertigo was the most common diagnosis in both age-group populations (11.46 per 1,000 working-age adults; 0.52 per 1,000 children and adolescents), with benign vertigo being the most prevalent of the three diagnoses and occurring at a seven times higher rate in adults versus pediatric and adolescents. Conclusions This study demonstrates the effectiveness of using medical claims data to estimate prevalence compared to self-reported survey data and supports prevalence estimates of vestibular disease in <1% of children overall, but indicate much higher prevalence for adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0286798
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


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