Dedicated to understanding tinnitus

TIN-ACT is a European consortium that investigates tinnitus (“ringing in the ears”). Tinnitus is a very common and potentially devastating condition. People with tinnitus continuously hear a penetrating phantom sound in absence of actual sound. An estimated 50.8 million EU citizens hear tinnitus, of which 5.1 million are severely bothered by it. Tinnitus can be enormously debilitating and leads to difficulty concentrating lack of sleep, anxiety, and depression. Even mild forms of tinnitus reduce productivity due to difficulty hearing and concentrating at work and also resting and relaxing during leisure time. In order to cure tinnitus, we need to bridge the gap between basic fundamental research, applied clinical research, and product development. Our aim is to understand the basic neural mechanisms of tinnitus and to find ways to measure and treat tinnitus.


In memory of Professor David Baguley, 1961-2022

Professor David Baguley

Leader, teacher, mentor, scientist, clinician, patient advocate and man of faith: we will not see his like again.

The sudden and tragic death of David (Dave) Baguley has left a gap within the national and international audiology and hearing science community. Dave was a passionate and gifted scientist, confident and sure in his research; for many of us, he was the ‘go-to person’ for the latest research findings. He published around two hundred scientific articles and two books, most recently “Living with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.” His clinical background meant he developed a clear line of sight from discovery research through to patient benefit, and helped him contribute enormously to improvements in the care of patients with tinnitus and hyperacusis. This was in no small part due to his empathic approach to his patients allied to a generosity of spirit and an enquiring mind that made him the ideal mentor for a whole generation of clinical trainees.

Dave was a voracious reader and an innovative thinker. He managed to bridge professional boundaries, connecting people with overlapping interests and linking ideas and clinical strategies from different specialisms, and was one of the very few who comfortably straddled the audiology, ENT and hearing science communities. He built a formidable international reputation as a leading expert in tinnitus and hyperacusis, publishing prolifically on the subject and receiving referrals from all over the country, and combined those with interests in vestibular schwannoma (including his PhD and leading work on audiovestibular dysfunctions) and more recently platinum-based chemotherapy. He could comfortably put people at ease, with humility and care for others. He was calm, gentle, warm, thoughtful, insightful and supportive. Dave could listen attentively with incredible insight; he could recognise potential and found ways of harnessing talent often when people had approached audiology in unconventional routes.  He opened doors creating opportunities and encouraged development.

At his core, Dave was a man of deep Christian faith. He was ordained a Deacon in the Church of England in 2011 and Priest the following year. Called to ministry alongside his clinical role, his correct title, although rarely used by those who knew him, was Reverend Professor. He was Associate Minister at St Martins, Sherwood in Nottingham. Outside of work he was a great cook, a lover of live music events, a hill walker, an avid reader, enjoyed “shooting the breeze” with friends, spoke warmly and lovingly of his family, and indubitably possessed a remarkably eclectic collection of shirts.He is survived by his wife Bridget, whom he married in 1989, and their two sons, Sam and Luke, and daughter, Naomi, all of whom he was immensely proud. We remember each of them, and the extended family, at this time. 

TIN-ACT Videos

In collaboration with TinnitusHub, our TIN-ACT students and their supervisors have created videos that answer pressing tinnitus questions. Have you always wondered how we can tell if an animal has tinnitus? Or why not everyone with hearing loss develops tinnitus? Go watch our video series in the ‘TIN-ACT Videos‘ tab!

New book on tinnitus and hyperacusis by our TIN-ACT Advisory Board member Prof. Jos Eggermont.

New TIN-ACT article published in Brain Sciences MDPI

Auditory brainstem responses (ABR) are used to measure hearing thresholds and infer information on tinnitus in animal models, such as tinnitus rat models. Presently, the results of these studies do not yield a coherent understanding of tinnitus-related differences in ABR signals. The authors conducted a survey and reported that the variability may be driven by differences in animal models, the equipment used, or the experiments performed. The authors present recommendations for future studies that will aid the comparison of ABR results.

New TIN-ACT article published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

The exact pathophysiology of tinnitus in humans remains unknown, and animal models of tinnitus are used to increase our understanding of its neurophysiological mechanisms. Two methods of tinnitus induction are regularly used in animal models of tinnitus: noise-induced tinnitus and salicylate-induced tinnitus. This article explores the behavioural signs of tinnitus in both noise-exposed and salicylate injected gerbils. The authors show that salicylate-induced and noise-induced tinnitus behaviour are not based on the same neurophysiological mechanism and propose that a stochastic resonance hyperactivity model does apply to noise-induced tinnitus but is not the mechanism behind salicylate induced tinnitus.

New TIN-ACT chapter published in Progress in Brain Research

A proportion of the people who experience tinnitus are severely bothered by their tinnitus percept. Tinnitus often co-occurs with hearing loss and people with bothersome tinnitus report that they experience anxiety and depression as well as somatic co-morbidities. In this chapter, the authors investigate the effect of physical, psychological, and hearing-related factors on bothersome tinnitus. The outcomes of this study highlight the need for multimodal and interdisciplinary treatments to help those experiencing bothersome tinnitus.

TIN-ACT ESRs collaborate with ESIT and UNITI on the future of tinnitus research

A great new collaborative project between ESRs from TIN-ACT and the European School for Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Research (ESIT) and the Unification of treatments and Interventions for Tinnitus patients (UNITI) has been published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. The article details the current challenges for multidisciplinary tinnitus research while being a multidisciplinary effort in itself. The work provides a great overview of the outstanding challenges in tinnitus research and proposes common objectives across the different domains of tinnitus research to direct future research.

New TIN-ACT article published in Scientific Reports

Misophonia is a condition where specific human-generated sounds generate a strong arousal response in some individuals. This condition has an impact on work and social matters. The authors developed a new online assessment tool for mishophonia.

Thesis defense

Congratulations to Dr Falco Enzler, who successfully defended his thesis that describes new psychoacoustic tools to evaluate and diagnose hyperacusis and misophonia. Both are auditory domain conditions that can be very disabling and are currently under-researched. Together with his supervisors, Dr Enzler developed new methods of detection and characterisation of hyperacusis and misophonia.

You can watch Dr. Enzler explain his work in the following video.

Tinnitus week 2021 #ThisIsMySilence

New TIN-ACT article published in Hearing Research

This study explored the use of natural sounds to create a novel diagnostic tool for hyperacusis. The results show that the rating of pleasant sounds (e.g., birds singing, instruments, and water sounds) reflected larger differences between hyperacusis and controls than unpleasant (e.g., fingernails on a chalkboard) and artificial (e.g., noises and tones) sounds. Pleasant natural sounds allow for better assessment of hyperacusis as they closer reflect everyday experience. A great advantage is that this test can be done quickly, with little discomfort, and at relatively low stimulation levels. Besides, its accuracy is similar to existing methods used in clinics and it’s a promising new tool in the diagnosis and assessment of hyperacusis.


New TIN-ACT article published in Brain Sciences

This review article dives into the use of auditory brainstem responses (ABR) to measure auditory sensitivity and other tinnitus-associated changes in the auditory system. The authors point towards the current lack of an experimental ABR protocol for tinnitus and emphasise the need for consensus on such a protocol.


Virtual TIN-ACT meeting hosted by Cochlear

As researchers we are all, to some extend, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in our professional capacity. Due to travel restrictions and health and safety concerns, we were not able to host an onsite meeting. Fortunately, due to the current communications technology we were able to host our latest TIN-ACT workshop online and connect with all of our consortium members.

September 21st – September 24th, our first fully online and remote TIN-ACT workshop was hosted by Cochlear, Mechelen (BE). The workshop consisted of expert presentations, which consisted of scientific contributions as well as insights in the industry behind hearing devices, updates from the ESRs on their hard work, and fun remote social activities. Understandably, the group photo taken on the last day looks a little different from our former group photos, but it is a fun reminder that we were still able to have this valuable meeting.

Collaboration multiple TIN-ACT supervisors

This paper highlights the differences between congenital and acquired deafness in terms of the associated risk of getting tinnitus. From the TIN-ACT consortium, Pim van Dijk, Holger Schulze, Birgit Mazurek, and David Baguley contributed to this paper on the neural bases of tinnitus. New insights point towards the distinctive impact of high spontaneous-rate auditory fibers on the emergence of tinnitus. Whereas these fibers and their corresponding inhibitory interneuron microcircuits do not mature in congenital deafness, these fibers and circuits are established but subsequently damaged in patients with acquired deafness potentially causing hyper-excitability and by extension tinnitus.

TIN-ACT article published in Frontiers in Neuroscience

The objective of this study was to identify gender-specific risk factors that are associated with the presence of bothersome tinnitus. The study is a cross-sectional survey and identified gender-specific differences in physical and psychological comorbidities associated with bothersome tinnitus.


TIN-ACT article in the featured research section of the Journal of Neuroscience

In a newly published study conducted by one of the TIN-ACT members, Elouise Koops and her colleagues studied the impact of hearing loss and tinnitus on the auditory cortex of the human brain. Surprisingly, the outcomes revealed that participants with hearing loss but without tinnitus show increased responses and reorganisation in their auditory cortex compared to participants with hearing loss and additional tinnitus. This suggests that tinnitus may be related to an incomplete form of central compensation to hearing loss. Consequently, treatments aimed at tinnitus may need to shift their focus on enhancing the cortical plasticity.

This excellent article now stands on the featured research page of the Journal of Neuroscience.


TIN-ACT article published in Hearing Research

This review highlighted the molecular, cellular, and circuit-level mechanisms that regulate the neuronal organization and tonotopic map plasticity during critical periods of development. The authors signal that future research will have to identify the interplay of these mechanisms and their association with hearing loss and tinnitus.


Passing of Volker Albert

With sadness, we learned that Volker Albert passed away on April 27, 2020, after a period of illness. Volker represented the Deutsche Tinnitus Liga at TIN-ACT meetings. Many of us interacted with him when he gave feedback on our research projects and plans. He was a strong patient advocate, who saw the importance of research and helped us to see the patient perspective. He was always energetic, positive-minded, and in the mood for interaction. We will greatly miss him. Our sympathy is with his family and friends.

Fourth TIN-ACT Workshop (Nottingham – Sep. 30 to Oct. 4, 2019)

Our recent TIN-ACT workshop was hosted by the University of Nottingham in the first week of October. The researchers had the opportunity to meet most of the TIN-ACT members, and present the progression of their projects. Additionally, the invited scientists gave lectures on topics such as neuroimaging, audiology, epidemiology, and the use hearing aids. Similar to previous workshops, the PhD-students participated in training courses and the topic of this meeting was “Research Ethics” and “Project and Time Management”.
Furthermore, TIN-ACT members visited some of the labs at the UoN, particularly, the “Sir Peter Mansfield” Imaging Center, a prominent name in the history of Magnetic Resonance Imaging!

Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, UK

Third TIN-ACT Workshop (Berlin – May 07 to 11, 2019)

Charite University Hospital hosted the recent TIN-ACT workshop in Berlin. In this scientific gathering, the Ph.D. students started the event with a 2-day training concerning Scientific Communication and Outreach. On the following days, they presented the latest progress on their Ph.D. projects as posters. Also, several lectures were given by scientists from Charite University, University Hospital Jena, Eberhard Karls University Hospital Tuebingen, National Institute for Health Research Nottingham, and Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg.
As always, the host university planned an amazing social event for the TIN-ACT members, and this time, visiting the Einstein Summer House, in Caputh!

Einstein summer house, Caputh, Germany

A Daniel Ballinger Fund Award for the TIN-ACT Program Manager

Elouise Koops, the program manager of TIN-ACT, received a Daniel Ballinger Fund Award for her neuroimaging research to understand tinnitus. Listen to a great short interview with Elouise Koops, where she talks about her research. Congratulations, Elouise!

Tinnitus Hub in TIN-ACT Workshop

Tinnitus Hub, as a patient organization and also a member of the TIN-ACT program, participated in our last workshop in Erlangen.


Second TIN-ACT Workshop (Erlangen – February 04 to 08, 2019)

The second TIN-ACT workshop was held up at University Hospital Erlangen on the first week of February. The early stage researchers participated in a 2-day training course concerning Ph.D. project management and presentation skills. Also, the latest progress in the Ph.D. projects was presented to the principal investigators.

The 13th Göttingen Meeting of The German Neuroscience Society

Five scientists from the TIN-ACT consortium presented their latest scientific results at the 13th Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society. The TIN-ACT symposium took place on Friday 22 February 2019. From left to right: Holger Schulze (Erlangen, Germany), Pim van Dijk (Groningen, The Netherlands). Birgit Mazurek (Berlin, Germany), Elouise Koops (Groningen, The Netherlands), Arnaud Norena (Marseille, France).

Zpannend Zernike (Academy Building, October 6, 2018)

As part of the University of Groningen’s Zpannend Zernike 2018 events, TIN-ACT researchers Dora Persic and Sonja Pyott together with other members of the ENT Department at the University Medical Centre Groningen brought their research to life with interactive activities designed to teach visitors how the ear works and what it’s like when it doesn’t work. A total of 1,200 visitors stopped by the day’s events! You can read more about the day’s event here: https://www.zpannendzernike.nl/index.php/zaterdag-6-oktober/10-academiegebouw.


First TIN-ACT Workshop (Marseille – September 26 to 28, 2018)

The first TIN-ACT training event took place in Marseille, France from 26 till 28 September 2018. The 15 TIN_ACT PhD students took part in a comprehense program to introduce them to a wide range of topics in tinnitus research.


King’s Day (Harmonieplein, April 27, 2018)

As part of the University of Groningen’s Zpannend Zernike 2018 events, TIN-ACT researchers Dora Persic and Sonja Pyott together with other members of the ENT Department at the University Medical Centre Groningen brought their research to life with interactive activities designed to teach visitors how the ear works and what it’s like when it doesn’t work. A total of 1,200 visitors stopped by the day’s events! You can read more about the day’s event here: https://www.zpannendzernike.nl/index.php/zaterdag-6-oktober/10-academiegebouw.


Kick-off Meeting TIN-ACT (Groningen, December 14 & 15, 2017)

The Kick-off meeting of TIN-ACT took place in Groningen, The Netherlands on 14th & 15th September 2017. All senior scientists and other participants in TIN-ACT discussed the intended research project and training program fot the TIN-ACT PhD students.