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Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if scores between 0 and 30 (mild), 31 and 60 (moderate), and 61 and 100 (severe) on the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) differentiated a person's functional abilities.

Study Design: Retrospective case series.

Setting: Tertiary balance outpatient center.

Patients: Patients (n = 85; mean age, 61 years) with a variety of vestibular diagnoses participated.

Interventions: Patients completed the DHI, the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI), the 5 times sit to stand test (FTSST), the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, gait speed, and the Timed "Up & Go" (TUG) during the same session. Reported numbers of falls within the last 4 weeks were recorded.

Main Outcome Measures: The DGI, FTSST, ABC, gait speed, TUG, and gait speed were compared among DHI groups.

Results: Significant differences were identified using an analysis of variance between DHI groups on the DGI, the FTSST, ABC, and number of falls (p < 0.05). A significant difference was found between DHI groups (mild vs. severe and moderate vs. severe) on the DGI (p < 0.05) with greater DHI scores exhibiting more impaired walking. The FTSST was different between DHI groups mild and severe and DHI groups moderate and severe (p < 0.05), with slower FTSST scores with higher DHI scores. Reported falls were higher among the severe DHI group and the other 2 DHI groups (p < 0.05). All 3 DHI groupings were different from each other on the ABC (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Patients who perceive a greater handicap as a result of dizziness demonstrate greater functional impairment than patients who perceive less handicap from dizziness.

(C) 2004 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.