Woman experiencing vertigo

Customer story

Revolutionizing vertigo diagnostics and treatment with eye tracking and VR

Resource Details

  • Written by

    Maggie Ma

  • Reading time

    6 min

Living with chronic diseases can profoundly impact an individual's quality of life; vertigo is one such disease that is often devastating, but commonly misunderstood. Vertigo, characterized by dizziness and a sensation of spinning, isn’t just uncomfortable - it can be debilitating. With vertigo, even simple tasks like walking or driving become a challenge, restricting mobility and causing a loss of independence.

Vertigo is not a fringe health issue, in fact, it affects a significant portion of the adult population. According to UCSF, nearly 40 percent of adults in the US have experienced vertigo at least once in their lifetime. Similarly, in Korea, a quarter of the population over 40 years old reported experiencing either dizziness or imbalance in the past year, with nearly 5% suffering chronically for more than three months
(Kim, Song, Lee, Kwon & Jeong, 2022).

And it’s not solely the physical symptoms that cause damage. For many, the constant fear of having a vertigo episode leads to anxiety and depression, while the frustration of having a condition that is not easily visible to others adds to an already heavy emotional burden. Since vertigo can be destructive for both one’s physical and mental health, finding effective treatment options is of paramount importance.

Based in Seoul, NeuroEars is pioneering advanced digital diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for neurotological disease, utilizing the power of eye tracking in VR. NeuroEars has been growing rapidly since its founding in 2021, building partnerships with global hospitals, leading tech providers, and research labs. In just two years, NeuroEars has embarked on a committed mission to provide affordable and effective alternatives to the current orthodoxy of vertigo diagnostic and treatment.

NeuroEars - Patient exam
Image courtesy of NeuroEars

Vertigo and the challenge of diagnosis 

Our sense of balance depends on the combined input from eyes, sensory nerves, and the inner ear.  The inner ear, helping detect gravity and back-and-forth motion, is closely connected with the external ocular muscles. The vestibular organs within the inner ear generate eye movements that stabilize gaze during head motion, forming the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). When the vestibular pathway is impaired, the VOR fails to function correctly, leading to abnormal eye movements during head rotation and potential bouts of dizziness or vertigo. Interestingly, ischemic stroke in the cerebellar or brain stem (central vestibular system) might lead to nystagmus (involuntary movement of the eyeball) in a specific posture or environment. Physicians investigate eye movement to identify the underlying causes of dizziness.  


Mayo Clinic human ear vertigo illustration
Image courtesy of the Mayo Clinic

According to Dr. Sungkwang Hong, CTO at NeuroEars, Inc., and professor at the Department of Otolaryngology, Hallym University Medical Center, the current vestibular diagnostic testing devices are typically hardware-based. They are prohibitively expensive and challenging for physicians to obtain professional interpretation. Additionally, the device must be installed in a dark room and additional equipment is required for the evaluation. The upshot is that current diagnosis methods for vertigo are out of reach for many clinics.

Diagnostic breakthrough with eye tracking

This combination of VR technology and eye tracking not only simplifies the diagnostic process but also reduces costs and the need for specialized equipment or dedicated evaluation spaces.

Tobii is a leading company in eye tracking, with years of experience and expertise gained through extensive research and development. The technology meets the high accuracy and fast response time requirements necessary for medical device certification.
Dr. Sungkwang Hong, CTO, NeuroEars, Inc., and Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Hallym University Medical Center

Future prospects: from diagnosis to rehabilitation and beyond

By recognizing the multifaceted impact of vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss on people’s quality of life, NeuroEars has been able to provide comprehensive solutions that go beyond diagnosis. The upcoming launch of NeuroEars-Thera, the first vertigo rehabilitation medical software in the domestic market, marks a significant milestone. By integrating VR technology, eye tracking, and AI-based algorithms, NeuroEars-Thera aims to revolutionize vestibular rehabilitation with an immersive and personalized therapeutic approach.

NeuroEars is on a mission to become the gold standard of vertigo diagnostics and treatments. Their dedication to continuous innovation is evident in the development of "Diago," a forthcoming AI-powered diagnostic assistant solution that utilizes eye movement analysis to provide vital information for dizziness diagnosis. As NeuroEars expands its reach, they plan to address other neurotologic diseases, such as tinnitus and cognitive impairment, leveraging their expertise in vestibular healthcare.

NeuroEars products
Image courtesy of NeuroEars
Validation of performance through test data and research papers has also been a great help in our decision-making process. Additionally, Tobii’s compatibility with high-spec HMD product from a reliable manufacturer we desired was also a crucial factor in our selection.
Dr. Sungkwang Hong, CTO, NeuroEars, Inc., and Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Hallym University Medical Center

Renowned French surgeon Alexis Carrel once said that “the quality of life is more important than life itself”. The advancement in digital healthcare, like the integration of VR and eye tracking technologies, brings newfound hope to assist diagnosing and battling diseases, ultimately leading to a deeper sense of well-being.

NeuroEars burst onto the scene by swiftly establishing itself in the Korean market and capturing a 20% domestic market share in just six months. Once the AI diagnostic assistance program development is completed, Hong says that the company aspires to achieve a 50% market share in 2024 and 70% in 2025. However, NeuroEars will not just settle for its current trajectory in the domestic market. It is already paving the way for its grand entry into the global market.

The rapid development, deployment, and adoption of such innovative solutions within specialized markets is clearly impressive.  Solutions like NeuroEars’ enhance the accessibility and quality of healthcare, enabling many more people to discover a newfound quality of life - and it doesn’t look like NeuroEars will be slowing down any time soon.

If you’re interested in learning more about NeuroEars’ solution, you can reach out to Dr. Sungkwang Hong through LinkedIn or NeuroEars, Inc.

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Resource Details

  • Written by

    Maggie Ma

  • Reading time

    6 min

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Person wearing an XR device with separate data streams for left and right eyes


  • Tobii employee

    Maggie Ma

    Head of Marketing, XR, Tobii

    As the head of marketing for the XR segment at Tobii, I get to tell amazing stories about our eye tracking sensor technology and how it is put to good use in VR and AR. I get inspired by the innovations that enhance understanding of ourselves, break the physical and financial barriers, help address incurable diseases, and fuel curiosity to explore new frontiers. It feels great to connect the magic of technology with the need of the users.

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