Acceptability and feasibility of a vestibular nerve stimulation headset protocol in children with cerebral palsy

Karen Mc Connell, Daniel Topley, Jason McKeown, Claire Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Research suggests electrical Vestibular Nerve Stimulation (VeNS) may improve balance for people with neurological impairments. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a VeNS headset protocol in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHODS: Children aged 5-18 years with ambulant CP, their parents, and healthcare professionals were recruited via social media. Children completed a battery of balance tests and wore a sham VeNS headset one hour per day for four weeks. Perspectives on the balance tests and headset were ascertained from children, parents and healthcare professionals using semi-structured interviews. Interview data were analysed thematically.

RESULTS: Two families and four healthcare professionals participated. Balance outcome measures were fully completed and deemed acceptable. Adherence with wearing the headset was 89-100% but discomfort with self-adhesive electrodes was reported. Four themes emerged from interview data: headset issues, perceptions about VeNS, the importance of balance, and modifications for future study.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the VeNS headset had high acceptability, the volunteer sample was small, potentially suggesting limited interest in VeNS as a treatment for children with CP, or reluctance to trial a 'non-active' headset. Recruitment via clinicians known to the family and use of an 'active' headset may increase participation in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Medical Research Council’s Project to Discovery Fund. The funder had no role in the study design, conduct, data collection, data analysis or dissemination of findings.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Vestibular nerve stimulation
  • Balance


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