Who we are
The Australian Tinnitus Association (NSW) Ltd (ATA) was the first ever Tinnitus organisation in Australia established in 1984 by the late Thelma Hoad (and five other founding members) who was frustrated and desperate getting no help with “that noise in my head” from medical professionals. Their response to people who came to see them was (and to a great extent still is) “learn to live with it”.
We are only organisation in NSW (voluntary or otherwise) to have tinnitus as its sole focus, however, when we got started people with other symptoms eg Meniere's disease, anxiety, hearing loss, stress, sleep deprivation, just to name a few associated with tinnitus contacted us desperately seeking help.
Back then the medical professionals were not given a handbook on tinnitus and callers felt there was nowhere for them to go.
A pioneer organisation which started with nothing put Tinnitus on the medical map with:
- Access to phone support and counselling.
- A network of support groups (hardly known back in 1984) in various suburbs to exchange information and share experience.
- Self-help networks regarded by leading health professionals as uniquely important; it is a very special fellowship.
- Education to the wider community – including health professionals and elected representatives about tinnitus.
- The first ever Tinnitus Seminar for Professionals was held in Australia with speakers being international tinnitus authorities Prof Jack Vernon and Dr Mary Meikle, from the Oregon Clinic USA.
- Conferences for health professionals with international keynote speakers (some were launched by Governor Generals of NSW) so that the medical professional can better help their patients with topics such as Tinnitus and the Veteran; Tinnitus Treatment & Strategies; Prevalence and Causes; Hearing aids for tinnitus management and other Psychological Interventions for Tinnitus Management.
- Members rallied to our fundraising so two audiologists could study Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) in London with its pioneer exponent, Dr Jonathan Hazell and introduced TRT for Tinnitus management in Australia.
- The first ever organisation to look at tinnitus in children with the launch of Hearing Health Kit for Kids for Primary Schools with requests for copies from around the world!
- ATA recognised that very little is written in conventional medical textbooks. Many medical professionals feel inept when a person suffering with tinnitus approaches them for help and may give negative advice which only fuels that person’s fears.
- ATA took the initiative in launching “Tinnitus Kit for Doctors". Thousands of these medical kits were distributed free of charge to doctors nationally and with requests from around the world!
What does the ATA do?
The task of our Association is a huge one – it’s a major achievement to be a support organisation for approx. 20-25% of the Australian population to a disability that is largely misunderstood.
It’s an organisation such as ours that people turn to in desperation. Being able to connect with a human voice makes a big difference to a tinnitus sufferer and is vital to their mental health.
We are here to listen to their plight; to alleviate the fear-factor on the on-set of hearing strange noises; with phone counselling and information on the probable cause; guidance on the availability of various evidence-based tinnitus treatments and/or management options; to discuss pharmacological management (if anxiety or depression is present) and sleep management – to name just some of the topics we discuss with each caller.
When people first experience tinnitus – they feel very alone because they feel no one understands what they’re going through.
Each caller gets our undivided attention for as long as they‘d like.
People go away feeling validated and they are not imagining this new sound they hear. “I’m so glad I rang you... No one’s given me as much information as you have.”
Thank you – Thank you!
Tinnitus Talk Newsletter
We publish a quarterly newsletter ‘Tinnitus Talk’ which some of our members call their 'Tinnitus Bible’.
The Newsletter covers the latest news, updates, research surrounding Tinnitus.
If you wish to receive our quarterly Newsletter, become a member today!