Portland, Ore — HR has just learned of the passing of Jack A Vernon, PhD, the co-founder of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) on November 11th, 2010. 

Vernon was a long-time tinnitus patient advocate and clinical researcher at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore. In 1971, he co-founded ATA with  Charles Unice, MD, a California physician and tinnitus sufferer.

In forming ATA, their goal was to fund necessary tinnitus research and to ultimately find a cure. Although the latter goal has not been reached, Vernon’s own research led to the creation tinnitus “masking,” the first clinical sound therapy for tinnitus.

Among his many achievements and milestones, Vernon was awarded first place in Oticon’s 2001 Focus on People Awards in the Practitioner Category for his work on behalf of tinnitus patients and the formation of the ATA. He was also presented with the American Auditory Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

Beyond his research, Vernon worked tirelessly for the ATA to develop and fund further tinnitus research. With the ATA, he enlisted stars, such as Tony Randal, Ann Landers, Al Unser, and many more celebrities to do public service announcements for the ATA.

Vernon was also known for his personal attention to patients. The ATA reports that every Friday, Vernon opened his personal phone line to receive calls from tinnitus sufferers, listening and giving them hope that treatments were available. He retired from the ATA and his research at the age of 74.

For those who would like to honor the memory of Vernon’s life and tinnitus research, the ATA is suggesting making a donation to its ATA donation page, and entering “Research Fund” as the “Type of Donation. Under “Additional Information,” one should indicate that the donation is to be in memory of Dr. Jack A. Vernon.

The ATA stated in its notice of Vernon’s passing that 100% of all monies raised through these donations will be restricted exclusively for tinnitus research.

SOURCE: American Tinnitus Association