Advocating For Research

Quick jump to:

H.R. 1443 Heard before VA Health Subcommittee on 7/9/2013
Our 2012 Congressional Champion
H.R. 1443 - The Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act of 2013
Our 2011 Congressional Champion
Our 2010 Congressional Champions
Our 2009 Congressional Champions
Our 2008 Congressional Champions
ATA Honors its 2007 Congressional Champions

 ATA Invited to Testify Before the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee

On July 9, 2013 Susan E. Shore, Ph.D., Chair of ATA's Scientific Advisory Committee testified before the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee on behalf of ATA and H.R. 1443, the Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act of 2013. Dr. Shore gave expert witness testimony on the current state of tinnitus research, addressed areas that could be enhanced by greater VA involvement and also cited the growing number of veterans with tinnitus.

At the end of 2012, for the sixth consecutive year in a row, tinnitus was the leading service-connected disability for veterans from all periods of service and cost the VA $1.5 billion in disability compensation. The committee took a very active interest in this particular bill and asked many good questions of Dr. Shore. You can read more about this exciting opportunity for ATA which not only benefits veterans, but everyone who has tinnitus in greater detail by clicking here.

 Honoring our 2012 Congressional Champion

During National Tinnitus Awareness week in May, now ATA Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Melanie West and ATA staff traveled to Washington, D.C. to present Representative Michael Michaud, (D-ME) with our 2012 House Legislative Champion award for his demonstrated leadership to cure tinnitus. Rep. Michaud was responsible for introducing H.R. 1443, the Tinnitus Research And Treatment Act in 2012 and again in 2013 (read more below about his efforts). If enacted, this legislation would:

  • Direct the Secretary Veterans Affairs (VA) to recognize tinnitus as a mandatory condition for research and treatment by the VA (including specific areas that need attention - for example gap areas in research)
  • Require the VA to cooperate with the Department of Defense (DoD) Hearing Center of Excellence on Auditory Injury to carry out this research to advance the science for all who suffer and provide superior clinical care for tinnitus for United States veterans.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

We thank Rep. Michaud for this leadership and thank Melanie West for taking time to travel all the way to Washington to thank him personally and discuss the next steps for enactment of this legislation. We look forward to continued work with Mr. Michaud and his staff.

Take Action! Bill Reintroduced to Help Increase Tinnitus Research to Help Veterans With Tinnitus

Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), the current ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee, has reintroduced a bill to help spur research into tinnitus by the VA and to encourage tinnitus research cooperation and support by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence. 

H.R. 1443, the Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act of 2013 would require the VA to: (1) recognize tinnitus as a mandatory condition for research and treatment by VA Auditory Centers of Excellence, (2) ensure that research is conducted at VA facilities on the prevention and treatment of tinnitus, and (3) ensure VA cooperation with the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence.

We need other Members of the House to add their name as a cosponsor to this small, but important bill. Please take time to call and/or email your House Member of Congress to urge him/her to cosponsor H.R. 1443. You can access information on your House Member at the U.S. House of Representatives website at: If you are able to speak to the legislative assistant for your member who handles veterans-related issues, please do so.

And please remember - that just because this bill is aimed at veterans it will have greater impacts for all those who suffer from tinnitus. Research conducted by the VA and DoD will help advance the science toward new treatments and a cure for tinnitus for all who suffer.

Here are some other helpful facts that you can use to help support the case to your House Member of Congress!


Honoring our 2011 Congressional Champion

2011 Congressional Champion presentation in OklahomaIn May 2012, ATA traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to present Senator James Inhofe, (R-OK) with our 2011 Congressional Champion award. Senator Inhofe is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and proposed an amendment in the FY 2012 Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization Bill regarding the progress being made on tinnitus, and the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence's progress on its mandate to research tinnitus on the returning military and veteran population. Click here to learn more about the ATA-advocated for Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence and it's mission to fund tinnitus research. Senator Inhofe was extremely grateful for the award - as a veteran and pilot himself, he understands first-hand the challenges being faced by our brave men and women in uniform - particularly when it comes to tinnitus. Please read the following press release for further information on the award:

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), recently received the Senate Legislative Champion Award by the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) for his dedicated efforts to include tinnitus research and funding to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). Ultimately, an amendment that would have addressed hearing injuries and hearing loss of service members failed, but will be resubmitted to this annual legislation for FY13.


“Our men and women in uniform deserve the best treatment for their selfless sacrifice,” said Inhofe. “With over 214,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans diagnosed with tinnitus, we must ensure they receive the proper resources to treat this debilitating condition. Last year, during the FY12 NDAA markup, I was dissatisfied with the failure of an amendment that would further assist our nation’s veterans. As the second ranking member of the SASC, I look forward to once again supporting a similar measure in FY13 that will address and treat this condition found in many of our nation’s veterans.” 
ATA Director of Advocacy & Research Jennifer Born said, "ATA is so appreciative of Senator Inhofe's demonstrated leadership in the fight to silence tinnitus. With the staggering increases in service-connected disability for tinnitus in veterans, and with tinnitus being the number one service-connected disability for veterans, tinnitus is a condition that needs the support and attention of Congress now, more than ever. Senator Inhofe was a much deserving candidate for this award and we were so pleased to be able to honor him with our 2011 Senate Legislative Champion award."

Honoring our 2010 Congressional Champions

This year, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D, WA) and U.S. House Representative Phil Roe (R-1,TN) were presented awards for their leadership and support of tinnitusresearch and treatments for 2010.

Specifically, Senator Patty Murray was honored for her support of including tinnitus in the Department of Defense’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). This program, since tinnitus first became eligible in 2008, has granted close to $6 million in tinnitus

 research funds over the past three years. This new money is helping to fund clinical trials as well as basic research. 

Representative Phil Roe is a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee as well as a co-chair of the Invisible Wounds Caucus. His work on the caucus, in particular, allowed for a hearing in September 2010 exclusively on tinnitus (you can read the article that appeared in the December 2010 Tinnitus Today by clicking here) as the number one service-connected disability for veterans.

Our 2009 Congressional Honorees

This year we again honored two superb Members of Congress for their outsanding leadership toward promo

ting a cure for tinnitus. Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM, 2) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK, 4) were our 2009 Congressional Champions.

Mr. Teague was honored on behalf of his leadership of introducing  H.R. 2506, The Veterans Hearing and Assessment Act which would mandate pre- and post-deployment hearing screenings for all members of the Armed Services as well as mandate tinnitus research be conducted by all VA Medical Centers with the capacity to do so. Mr. Teague has also made tinnitus a prominent issue before the Invisible Wounds Caucus which will hold a hearing on "Blast-Induced Tinnitus," on September 22, 2010.

ATA chose Mr. Cole as a 2009 honoree because of his outstanding leadership introducing H.R. 5203, "The Tinnitus Research for Military Health Improvement Act." This bill, as introduced, would establish a Department of Defense Center of Excellence on tinnitus as well as provide historic funding for tinnitus research over five years.

The ATA community is so grateful to both Rep. Teague and Rep. Cole for standing up on behalf of tinnitus patients everywhere by helping bring attention to this growing problem. Their efforts were truly worthy to be called our 2009 Congressional Champions. We look forward to working with both Congressmen over the coming years toward enactment of both of these crucial pieces of legislation.

ATA Honors its 2008 Congressional Champions

After our first year of Advocacy success, the ATA Advocacy and Public Policy Committee (a group comprised of ATA Board members, past and present and other volunteers with specific interest in ATA’s Advocacy agenda and success), discussed and created ATA’s Congressional Champion recognition program.

The idea was to personally thank U.S. legislators who took leadership on making all of the above referenced advocacy successes a priority issue for them. Though there have been many Senators and Representatives who have supported ATA’s ambitious advocacy agenda, there are some who have truly gone above and beyond and demonstrated leadership toward legislative language that promotes researching and curing tinnitus.

Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Harry Reid (D-NV) were honored by ATA Board Members, Scott C. Mitchell, J.D., John Bates, and Michael O’Rourke, ATA Director of Advocacy & Research, Jennifer Born and ATA government relations counsel, Deborah Outlaw for their leadership during the 111th Congress (FY 08-09) in May 2009.



From left to right: ATA Board member John Bates; Government relations counsel Deborah Outlaw; The Honorable John Cornyn; recent ATA Board chair Scott C. Mitchell J.D.; and ATA Director of Advocacy & Research, Jennifer Born.






From left to right: recent ATA Board chair, Scott C. Mitchell J.D.; ATA Government Relations counsel Deborah Outlaw; ATA Director of Advocacy & Research Jennifer Born; accepting the honor on behalf of The Honorable Harry Reid's are senior staff Robert Herbert and Joe Martin, and ATA Board member Michael O'Rourke. 




ATA Honors its 2007 Congressional Champions

In May 2008, representatives of ATA made a trip to Washington, D.C. to acknowledge our 2007 Congressional Champions (pictured below). Those bestowing this honor included board members Scott C. Mitchell, J.D. and Michael O’Rourke; ATA's Director of Advocacy & Research, Jennifer Born and government relations counsel, Deborah Outlaw. The four outstanding lawmakers honored helped ATA achieve success in attaining landmark appropriations that will benefit tinnitus research. These included a Congressional appropriation in the FY 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill and directive report language in both the House and Senate versions of the Labor Health and Human Services (Labor HHS) bill. Both of these have led the way to increased funding for tinnitus research by the federal government. These particular policymakers have been and continue to be essential to ATA fulfilling its mission to cure tinnitus.

2007 Congressional Champions
Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA, 4)
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Representative Jim Walsh (R-25, NY)


Scott C. Mitchell, J.D.; Ron Anderson who accepted the award on behalf of Rep. Jim Walsh; Jennifer Born


 Jennifer Born; Senator
Ted Stevens; Scott C. Mitchell, J.D.


Scott C. Mitchell, J.D.; Rep. Jason Altmire; Jennifer Born; Deborah Outlaw


Scott C. Mitchell, J.D.; Senator
Tom Harkin; Jennifer Born

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a key supporter of tinnitus research, and ATA's government relations counsel, Deborah Outlaw, who advocates for ATA issues on Capitol Hill.