Published: March 26, 2021

Why the Power of Our Voice Matters

As otolaryngologists, we know better than anyone how critically important the human voice is.

Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS AAO-HNS/F PresidentCarol R. Bradford, MD, MS
AAO-HNS/F President
“The human voice is the most perfect instrument of all.”  

– Arvo Part

As otolaryngologists, we know better than anyone how critically important the human voice is. 

Patients with a wide range of throat ailments—from throat cancer to a crushed larynx—expect us to preserve their voices. We approach the vocal tract with extreme caution and delicate dexterity to ensure that patients are able to communicate verbally following surgery and other interventions.  

And as World Voice Day approaches, our profession comes together to encourage our patients to assess their vocal health and take steps to take care of their voices.

But have you ever noticed that we sometimes fail to recognize the power of our own voices? Do we find our voices when we see or hear something that is not aligned with our core purpose and guiding principles? Do we speak up when a member of our community is not treated equitably? Are we using our voices to advocate for our patients and our practices? Are we asking questions at the conclusion of an education session when the learning objectives are not clear?  

There are times when we know there is more to be said and heard.  

As they say, the silence can be deafening.

Now, more than ever, we encourage our members to speak up and be heard. As we update our strategic plan, this is a critical time for our future. The more ideas we hear and different perspectives we consider, the greater the chances we will realize our vision together. 

Actor Maggie Smith once said, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” I challenge you to be bold, to find your voice, and to use it for the betterment of our organization and society at large. We are all experts in something, and we are stronger when you share your knowledge, ideas, and perspectives.

In a large organization such ours, there are times when you might feel your voice is not heard. I urge you to keep trying, as our goal is to ensure that not only is your voice heard, but also that your voice speaks for the future of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

There are many avenues where you can share, including committees, meetings, conferences, and elections. In fact, the election for positions on the Academy’s Board of Directors is right around the corner. I encourage you to read the candidates’ statements, starting on page 24, then cast your vote when the election opens on May 3. Let your voice be heard as we select our future leaders.

Thank you for your voice and for your contributions to our collective future as an Academy. 

Powerof Voice