PhD student Elouise Koops from the University of Groningen has been awarded a £5,000 grant from the Daniel Ballinger Memorial Fund in a unique collaboration between the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) and online community Tinnitus Talk.

Koops’s research project is titled ‘Neural Plasticity in Tinnitus and Hearing Loss’ and will examine the changes in the auditory pathways which occur when tinnitus and hearing loss is experienced.

Members of Tinnitus Talk and the greater tinnitus community donated a total of £5,000 in memory of Daniel Ballinger. Danny was a much loved and respected member of the tinnitus community, with a keen interest in pharmacological treatments and cures for tinnitus. Each application was judged by donors to the fund.

Said Ms Koops: “I am very grateful to receive the support from the tinnitus community, in honour of Daniel Ballinger. The willingness of the people with tinnitus to dedicate their time and efforts to help the quest to resolve tinnitus is overwhelming. The link between tinnitus and hearing loss is strong, but we cannot explain why some people develop tinnitus whereas others do not. I hope to provide more information on the source of tinnitus in the human brain, eventually aiding the person whose brain is bringing along tinnitus.”

Markku Vesala, founder of Tinnitus Talk commented: “This fund came to life as a truly grassroots effort from Tinnitus Talk members - most notably Eddie Clarke - wanting to honour the memory of Daniel Ballinger (“Danny Boy”) by raising money to further the quest for a tinnitus cure. The fact that the grant beneficiary was chosen directly by the fund donors sets an example for patient engagement in tinnitus research. We wholeheartedly congratulate Ms. Koops and look forward to seeing the fruits of her research!”

Added David Stockdale, British Tinnitus Association chief executive: “The vision of the BTA is ‘a world where no one suffers from tinnitus’. Ultimately, we want a cure for tinnitus, and by researchers, organisations and individuals coming together like we have in memory of Daniel, we get closer to this vision.”