Published: February 23, 2016

Human voice transmits emotion, clarity

According to the U.S. Census, there are 7.3 billion people in the world, and 322 million in the United States.1 More than 7 billion human voices speak and exchange ideas with one another each day.

Ken YanagisawaBy Ken Yanagisawa, MD, BOG Secretary

According to the U.S. Census, there are 7.3 billion people in the world, and 322 million in the United States.1 More than 7 billion human voices speak and exchange ideas with one another each day.

It is not only the exact selection of words, but the intonations, inflections, and associated expressions that create and shape the delivered message. Fine. Fine? FINE! Each variation creates a different impact based simply on the way the word is articulated.

voicekidsEvery April 16 we celebrate World Voice Day (WVD), an opportunity to help people around the globe understand the role and importance of optimal vocal hygiene, to encourage healthy voice habits, and to educate the public about our unique position as otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons who diagnose and treat individuals with vocal disturbances. For 14 years, the Academy has supported WVD across the country with celebratory meetings and educational lectures, social media awareness spots, and voice screenings.

In our fast-paced world of electronic and digital communication, which relies on keyboard-manufactured words, some have raised concerns about old fashioned, eye-to-eye, direct communication. As an “old-school” advocate, I often prefer and certainly value the emotion, emphasis, and clarity that the human voice so capably transmits.

Who talks and how the words are spoken define the moment—the sweet and scintillating sound of my wife’s voice as we cherish our many life gifts, the excitement and elation as a son or daughter receives a school acceptance, the sadness and understanding of the hoarse smoker who realizes the gravity of the condition. The delivery of any sensitive or serious patient information deserves live, in-person communication, not computerized portals or impersonal internet interactions. It is critical to ensure patient comprehension, and the opportunity for the provider to offer necessary guidance and support. Our physician voice has immeasurable strength to heal and to provide realistic outlook and hope.

Dissemination of timely and accurate information is key to our goal of patient education. The website and digital information media are invaluable for this application. We are extremely fortunate that our Academy has assembled an informative webpage describing our numerous and growing campaigns including Kids ENT Health Month (February), World Voice Day (April 16) and Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 10-16), and Better Hearing and Speech Month (May). More information is available at, under the “About Us” tab.

More than ever, communication among physicians is critical as we all face daily battles to maintain the nobility and independence of our profession, to counter financial constraints, and to foster legislative relationships and strategies. The upcoming AAO-HNS/F 2016 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting March 18-21, in Alexandria, VA, offers an outstanding free opportunity to explore and discuss practice tips, tricks, and successes with colleagues and Academy leadership. Topics to be covered include contemporary practice marketing and management advances, mentoring, ICD-10, and Registry (RegentSM) updates. Register at Please consider joining us to learn, and to let your voice and your concerns be heard.


  1. U.S. and World Population Clock. Population Clock. Dec. 31, 2015.



More from March 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 02

New task forces focus on education
By Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, AAO-HNSF former Coordinator for Education The AAO-HNS/F has assembled four education task forces to address important issues concerning our Members and the profession. I am honored to be involved in many of these efforts and to serve as chair for two of these groups. The Simulation Task Force was formed in 2011 to define the current state of simulation, to investigate its role and future potential in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and to provide educational resources for AAO-HNS Members. Under the leadership of Ellen S. Deutsch, MD, the Simulation Task Force has accomplished: Initiation of Simulation Open Forums, at both the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM) and the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM, has brought together like-minded individuals to discuss interests, challenges, and opportunities in simulation. An active ENTConnect community engages simulation Members in ongoing collaboration and exploration. Launch of the SimTube Project, a national initiative for simulation-based educational research with the immediate goal of assessing the usefulness of a low-cost, low-tech simulator in learning myringotomy and tube placement, and the larger goal of establishing an infrastructure that could support multiprogram collaboration for more complex simulation-based educational research in the future. More than 60 U.S. residency programs now participate in the study. Numerous Annual Meeting Miniseminars highlighting current education efforts and advanced technology in simulation while also demonstrating the value of simulation in quality of care and systems improvement. Recognizing the expanding role of simulation in education, research, and quality, the task force has recently submitted an application to become a Foundation committee. This new designation will permit a formal and permanent structure for furthering Member opportunities and engagement. Dr. Deutsch and Gregory J. Wiet, MD, will chair the committee. The Comprehensive Curriculum Task Force stemmed from the 2013 Board of Directors Strategic Planning meeting where Academy leadership acknowledged the need for a core curriculum in otolaryngology. The Otolaryngology Comprehensive Curriculum will serve as a lifelong, continually expanding learning and assessment tool for otolaryngology professionals. The content and structure will meet the needs of students, residents, allied health colleagues, and all practicing physicians engaged in MOC and lifelong learning. The online format will cover the otolaryngology scope of knowledge, provided in various educational formats, to guide and address cognitive and technical skills. The “living” content will be kept current with frequent updates so users can be assured they are participating in a rich and growing educational program. The task force believes this to be an ideal opportunity to unite the specialties around education, reduce duplicative efforts across societies, and to provide a comprehensive education platform for our specialty. A working group comprised of society representatives is finalizing a list of topics and performing an inventory of all existing education content across the specialties. This information will inform the development of future education programming. The Intraoperative Nerve Monitoring Task Force, in existence since fall 2015, will address key issues relevant to facial nerve monitoring during otologic and neuro-otologic surgery. With representation from the American Neurotology Society (ANS) and the American Otological Society (AOS), the task force will focus on: Determining current practice in training and performance of nerve monitoring among Academy Members and Residency Program Directors. Developing education activities that will provide uniform and standardized training for otolaryngologists to safely and successfully perform the procedure. Clarifying the AAO-HNS/F perspective on intraoperative nerve monitoring within the specialty. AAO-HNS President Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, proposed the latest group, Advanced Practice Professionals (APP) Education Task Force. With the growing presence of mid-level providers in otolaryngology practices, it is imperative that we provide our colleagues with proper education and training in our field. These efforts will improve their contributions to our practices and patients while also educating AAO-HNS Members on the benefits of including APPs in the profession. In collaboration with the APP societies, including SPAO-HNS, the task force will design educational programing and provide resources that will allow advanced practice providers and otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to work synergistically to improve patient care. “I have every confidence that this task force will put together a comprehensive ENT APP curriculum, utilizing many Academy resources. Establishing such an educational outline will really help our Members as they seek to incorporate APPs into their practices” said Dr. Chandrasekhar. Karen T. Pitman, MD, and Peter D. Costantino, MD, will serve as chairs of this new task force. Academy task force Members are working hard on topics critical to the Academy and the profession. “These education task forces really complement the work of the education committees by addressing new and innovative education opportunities for our Members,” said Richard V. Smith, MD, coordinator for Education. If you are interested in more information or contributing to any of these projects please email