Our History

For over four decades, ATA has been the primary resource for tinnitus patients around the country.

1971 – ATA came about through the efforts of Charles Unice, M.D.

1975 – The first ATA newsletter is sent out to members in April. The newsletter notes that, “There are about 95 members of ATA.”

1976 – ATA forms a Scientific Advisory Committee to guide the association in all areas of tinnitus science and research. This committee is comprised of leading specialists in tinnitus and other auditory disorders.

1977 – ATA coordinates nationwide educational workshops on tinnitus, providing information to more than 1,200 hearing health professionals.

1980 – ATA awards its first tinnitus research grant to Mary B. Meikle, Ph.D., who uses the money to start the first-ever registry of tinnitus patients. The project eventually attracts funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and grows into a valuable tool for tinnitus researchers.

1982 – ATA establishes a nationwide support group network, helping tinnitus patients connect with each other and learn from shared experience.

1986 – Jack A. Vernon, Ph.D., and Gloria Reich, Ph.D., former Executive Director appear on the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour.

1988 – ATA's newsletter, published since 1975, becomes Tinnitus Today, a regular magazine focused on the needs of tinnitus patients.

1995 – ATA hosts the Fifth International Tinnitus Seminar in Portland, Oregon. Scientists from 25 countries appear and present papers about tinnitus.

2004 – Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor ATA creates The FDL Tinnitus Assistance Fund to financially assist in-need tinnitus patients with hearing evaluations and treatments.

2005 –  ATA develops the Roadmap to a Cure, an innovative guide that identifies what researchers now know about tinnitus and what information is needed to develop a cure.

2007 – ATA adopts a more focused mission to fund resources to advance research that will lead to a tinnitus cure.

2008 – Awards a record high $595,462 in annual research grants.

2009 - Tinnitus becomes the leading service-connected disability for veterans from all periods of service helping to raise the urgency for tinnitus solutions.

2010 – The first ATA Walk to Silence Tinnitus is held in Portland. This event goes on to become an annual tradition, raising valuable resources for tinnitus research and support programs.

2010 – ATA’s historical aggregate research allocations exceed $5 million.

2011 – ATA celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

2012 - ATA's advocacy work exponentially increases tinnitus research funding by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.

2013 - ATA appears on an expert panel on the McCuistion program to discuss the latest advances in tinnitus research and treatment.

2015 – ATA launches an organizational rebrand, plus a new, patient-focused association website, with expanded information.

2016 - ATA launches new patient-focused mission.

2016 - ATA gives Tinnitus Today a complete graphic and content overhaul to match its new patient-focused mission.

2017 - ATA launches Conversations in Tinnitus podcast series.

2017 - ATA moves its headquarters to the Washington, D.C. metro area to be at the center of research and advocacy.

2018 - ATA exceeds $6 million in seed grants with the funding of two second year proposals.

2019 - The ATA is invited to speak again at the American Academy of Otolaryngology’s international conference based on feedback from 2018 attendees regarding relevance, quality, and interest.

2019 - The ATA inaugurates the Tinnitus Advisors Program (TinnAP™) to provide professional guidance to callers on tinnitus management and where to seek help from appropriate healthcare providers.

2020 - Tinnitus Today magazine receives award for its publication “Tinnitus in a Time of Chaos,” which addresses the mental-health toll of tinnitus.

2021 - The ATA celebrates its 50th year by issuing $298,000 in research grants and calling on the tinnitus community to raise additional money for a new ATA Golden Anniversary Grant.