The meta-search engine Google (www.google.com) presents “about 150,000” tinnitus references, with much cross-engine duplication. AltaVista (www.altavista.com) produces 67,000+ discrete tinnitus-related links, 33,000+ of which are in English. The quality of tinnitus web sites ranges from patent quackery (healing crystals, ear candles, etc.) through consummate professionalism. The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) site (www.ata.org) is a leader in the latter category.
The site presents an uncluttered and consistently efficient two-layered format. A sidebar provides single-click access to nine separate categories of information. Each categorical page provides a header with access to four to six additional pages. The site represents the hard-copy equivalent of more than 150 pages of information.
The ATA web site is consumer-oriented and highly effective, presenting an abundance of clear, unbiased information about tinnitus, programs, and resources.
Home includes subsections on What's New at ATA; ATA in the News, with access to a 30-second PSA on tinnitus; Calendar of Events; and Chat with Jack, the seven-page transcript of an Internet tinnitus chat session with Jack Vernon, PhD, from June 26, 2001. More recent transcripts are promised. Dr. Vernon also personally answers tinnitus “hotline” calls on Fridays.
About Tinnitus contains a nine-question tinnitus FAQ, which is also reiterated in Spanish. There is an excellent section on tinnitus treatment options: alternative treatments. amplification (hearing aids), biofeedback, cochlear implants/electrical stimulation, cognitive therapy, drug therapy, masking, tinnitus retraining therapy, and TMJ treatments. Under Other Hearing Disorders, Meniere's disease, hyperacusis, and types of hearing loss are summarized.
Programs cites ATA's Education, Advocacy, Research, and Support efforts. Under the Support header is a description of the three-part support program of Self-Help Groups, Tinnitus Help Network, and Provider Listings. Here are also seven questions for consumers seeking tinnitus treatment to ask of their healthcare providers.
About ATA presents general information about the ATA organization, including the members of its board of directors and scientific advisory committee.
Tinnitus Today is devoted to the ATA quarterly journal for patients and healthcare professionals. A summary of back issue-featured topics is given through December 1988. Hard-copy reprints may be ordered online.
Members Section is access-restricted to ATA members. The most recent issue of Tinnitus Today is available in its entirety in color Adobe Acrobat format. The 28-page September 2001 issue included such featured articles as: “New tinnitus research? Here it is!”; “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for tinnitus”; “Orchestra and tinnitus—a view from the podium”; “Are doctors listening? Tinnitus: The discounted malady”; and an editorial “What do audiologists know about tinnitus.” The Members section also lists Tinnitus Tips, Other Hearing News, Find a Support Contact—a state-based directory of tinnitus support contacts—and three reprinted articles from Tinnitus Today: “Tinnitus spouse survival,” “A new look at Lidocaine,” and “Pulsatile tinnitus.”
Research and Grants lists 55 separate grant projects receiving over $1.3 million in research grants since 1980. Grant application information is included.
Tinnitus Resources lists tinnitus-related books, catalogues, brochures, audio- and video-tapes available from ATA. It also provides links to 24 additional, credible links to organizations or institutions providing information on tinnitus.
Join ATA notes benefits of and provides online application for various categories of ATA membership.
The American Tinnitus Association web site is without peer in its clear and objective presentation of information about tinnitus and its causation and treatment.