ATA’s Research Program: Tinnitus Patients Investing in a Quiet Future

PORTLAND, OR – The American Tinnitus Association, the nation’s premier advocate for tinnitus patients, is also one of the leading funders of advanced tinnitus research. To date, ATA has distributed nearly 6 million dollars in research grants, funding projects that have improved our medical understanding of tinnitus, developed new tinnitus management tools, and laid the foundation for future cures. 

ATA’s research program focuses on providing seed grants for the most innovative areas of tinnitus scientific exploration.  Large research institutions—the U.S. Department of Defense or National Institutes of Health, for instance—often do not support projects that have not undergone initial exploratory testing. This keeps many good ideas from ever getting off the ground. ATA covers this funding gap by supporting tinnitus scientists through the preliminary phases of research, strategically kickstarting innovative pilot projects which may later qualify for large-scale funding from the government or other institutions.   

“What makes ATA’s program unique, is that it is wholly funded by our members and donors, most of whom are tinnitus patients,” said Cara James, Executive Director of the American Tinnitus Association. “This is an example of patients taking control of their own healthcare future and directly investing in research that will help the entire tinnitus community.  Our focus on seed grants and pilot projects is the best way we can maximize the return and impact of these strategic investments.”

Every year ATA funds a set of high-quality research projects. Proposals are measured against ATA’s “Roadmap for a Cure,” a progressive framework for how tinnitus research can best—and most rapidly—be used to achieve a definitive cure for tinnitus. The funding process is guided by the association’s Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Committee, composed of leading researchers and thought leaders in the field of tinnitus.

In 2013, ATA awarded a total of $220,000 to 6 different research projects. Supported projects included investigations of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for tinnitus suppression, tonotopic reorganization in the brain, and behavioral factors that impact tinnitus.  ATA will announce the recipients of its 2014 research grants on June 2.

“Scientific research is the route to a definitive cure for tinnitus. We have made good progress in our understanding but there’s still much more to discover,” said James. “With the support of our members and donors we will continue to fund the most innovative research until we find a cure for the millions of Americans struggling with tinnitus.”