The recordability of two sonomotor responses in young normal subjects.



It has been reported that up to 40% of patients over age 60 fail to generate a vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP; Su et al, 2004). When this occurs it is difficult to determine whether the absent VEMP represents evidence of bilateral impairment of the vestibulocollic reflex pathway or a normal age-related variant (i.e., idiopathic absence).


The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether both VEMPs and PAMs could be recorded reliably in a sample of neurologically and otologically intact young adults. If both could be obtained with high reliability in normal subjects, then the bilateral presence of PAM in the bilateral absence of VEMP, at least in younger patients, could be used to support the contention that the absent VEMP represented evidence of bilateral impairment.

Research Design

A descriptive study.

Study Sample

Attempts were made to record both the VEMP and a second sonomotor response, the postauricular muscle potential (PAM) from 20 young adults.


Results showed both the VEMP and the PAM were present in 90% of the ears. Both the VEMP and PAM responses were bilaterally absent for one subject. Also, the VEMP and PAM were unilaterally absent for two subjects. Subjects who generated VEMPs also generated a PAM in at least one ear.


The present investigation represents an initial step in the determination of whether the presence of PAMs in the absence of VEMPs can be used as a method of validating the presence of an impairment affecting the vestibulocollic reflex pathway.