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World Voice Day 2012.

Each year, the February or March editorial is devoted to reminding otolaryngologists about World Voice Day, which takes place in April. This international event provides with us an opportunity to organize multidisciplinary activities for the benefit of the general public, and our profession.

In 1999, otolaryngologists in Brazil established a national voice week in April. The World Health Organization (WHO) had pointed out an especially high rate of laryngeal cancer in Brazil, and Brazil's otolaryngology community responded by establishing the national voice week to stress the importance of the human voice and to promote cancer prevention among Brazilian citizens. Shortly thereafter, other organizations elsewhere recognized the value of such a public event and started collaborating with the Brazilian Otolaryngology Society. Early participants included the European Laryngological Association (, the American Bronchoesophagological Association (, and several others. World Voice Day developed from this collaboration and was designated to take place each year on April 16.

World Voice Day was celebrated for the first time in the United States on April 16, 2003. It has continued and is supported actively by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) (, the Voice Foundation (, the American Laryngological Association (, and numerous other societies and organizations. World Voice Day has continued to evolve. A summary of its history is on the Academy Web site at www.entnet. org/AboutUs/historyWorldVoiceDay.cfm.

World Voice Day has been highlighted by voice screenings, lectures, media events, and concerts worldwide. Included are Web-based educational initiatives, some of which can be accessed through the AAO-HNS website. Events range from relatively modest local health (laryngeal) screenings and lectures, to major national initiatives in countries such as Portugal. Activities in various cities are organized by laryngologists, speech-language pathologists, singing voice specialists, singing teachers, and others who are committed to public education about the voice and to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the importance of vocal health and education.

In 2011, World Voice Day was featured in the Journal of Singing, the official publication of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). This initiative resulted in an increased number of World Voice Day celebration events initiated by the singing community.

World Voice Day celebrations have remained eclectic. In most cities, they have been multidisciplinary and highly successful. In Philadelphia, for example, World Voice Day celebrations under the auspices of The Voice Foundation have included all of the activities listed above, as well as others, such as readings by authors of children's books to large groups of Philadelphia school children (with a brief introduction on the importance of vocal health and hygiene), presentations by storytellers, a vocal health workshop for actors, a master class for singers, a keynote presentation by a television luminary who had experienced voice problems, public lectures by a physician on vocal health, a comedy club presentation demonstrating the versatility of the voice, and other activities.

In 2011 in the Detroit area, Dr. Adam Rubin and his colleagues organized an exceptional concert in support of World Voice Day featuring performers of all genres and all ages. It was highly successful not only artistically, but also in calling attention to the importance of vocal health. Such presentations are popular and effective at highlighting the importance and fragility of the voice to the public. They can be organized easily in virtually any city or town anywhere in the world.

To assist with the educational mission of World Voice Day, the AAO-HNS has developed a Web site, fact sheets on common voice problems, and materials for press releases to assist local communities in developing World Voice Day events. These materials are updated regularly and are available through the Academy. The Academy also establishes annual World Voice Day themes for the American celebration. In the past, these have included "Listen to your voice, it might be telling you something," Put your best voice forward," "Don't tax your voice," "Invest in your voice," "Love your voice," and "We share a voice:'

World Voice Day is still not acknowledged actively in too many communities throughout the world. This occasion offers an opportunity for all otolaryngologists to collaborate with colleagues in speech-language pathology, singing, acting, public speaking, education, the media, and other endeavors. Vocal health is critical to our communication-oriented society, but the voice does not receive the public recognition and appreciation it deserves. World Voice Day provides us a perfect forum through which to refamiliarize ourselves with the latest advances in laryngology and voice care, and to educate our colleagues, patients, and communities via lectures, free voice screenings, community outreach programs, and other offerings.

The past few decades have been rich with striking advances in diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders. The standard of care for voice patients worldwide has been elevated remarkably over the past 30 years. World Voice Day provides a perfect opportunity for us to bring these advances to light and to educate the general public and the media about the current stateof-the-art in voice care. We should not only be proud of the advances in our field over the past three decades, but we should also educate the public to take advantage of them. Hopefully, we may also be able to inspire the kind of public enthusiasm and support that will facilitate even more advances in the coming decades. Hopefully, otolaryngologists in every city will take the time to organize at least a small activity to honor and support the World Voice Day mission in 2012.

Robert T. Sataloff, MD, DMA, FACS


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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Author:Sataloff, Robert T.
Publication:Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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