On FridayDecember 7th, UMC Utrecht became an official partner in the TIN-ACT consortium. This consortium is an international partnership between a number of academic centers and companies that have teamed up to investigate the different aspects of tinnitus (‘ringing in the ears’). The research team lead by Robert Stokroos, professor of ENT at the UMC Utrecht, will now receive a large H2020 grant of €750.000 to continue their research on tinnitus.

Tinnitus (“ringing in the ears”) 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  suffer from tinnitus, of which 5.1 million are severely bothered by it. Tinnitus can be enormously debilitating and lead 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 impair rest and relaxation during leisure time.

The research group of Robert Stokroos carries out research into hearing and recovery of hearing which also includes research on tinnitus. Robert Stokroos: "If the ear performs less well after noise damage or aging, the brain adjusts so sensitively that it leads to tinnitus. We are working on two projects when it comes to tinnitus. We are investigating the different types of tinnitus that people experience with the aim of offering patient-oriented treatment. In addition, we are developing a tinnitus implant devised by the research team. This implant should ensure that tinnitus is suppressed by means of electrical stimulation. Previous research has shown that the tinnitus implant works in deaf patients. In our research we will now also apply it to patients with less good hearing."

The H2020 grant that the research group has now received amounts to € 750.000. Two additional researchers will be appointed with. Robert Stokroos: "We are very happy with the grant. We can now continue the work that has been started and that offers a perspective on the further understanding and treatment of tinnitus. That will really make a difference for many patients in the future”.