Message from the president

Chung-Feng Hwang

This year, the Taiwan Academy of Otology enters its third term, moving from Taichung and Taipei to Kaohsiung. The first chairman was Professor Chuan-Jen Hsu, Vice President of Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital, and the second chairman was Professor Tien-Chen Liu, head of the ENT department at National Taiwan University. The secretaries-general for these terms were Hung-Pin Wu and Chen-Chi Wu, respectively. Thanks to everyone's efforts, the society has established a robust system. In addition to regularly hosting domestic and international otology seminars, former chairman Liu signed MOUs with otological societies in Japan and Korea, creating a platform for Taiwanese otologists to exchange knowledge with international experts. Standing on the shoulders of these giants, as a successor, I will continue to fulfill the mission of the society and promote its legacy, ensuring that its excellent traditions are carried forward.

In recent years, otolaryngology colleagues have felt that the development of otology in Taiwan is constrained, with young ENT doctors showing less interest in the field. However, both otology and otosurgery hold great potential for development. For instance, in otology, issues like tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss are increasingly prevalent in an aging society; in otosurgery, areas such as cochlear implants, endoscopic ear surgeries, and eustachian tube procedures have promising prospects. It is crucial to secure government or National Health Insurance support for otological conditions. We encourage otolaryngology colleagues to actively participate in government committees to advocate for patients' rights. Following Chairman Liu's recommendation, I joined the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Disability Committee and successfully advocated for reducing the standard for the handicap of mild hearing loss from 50% to 45% for adults and to 22.5% for children, making it more likely for those with hearing impairments to seek treatment and wear hearing aids. Six years ago, the National Health Insurance began covering unilateral cochlear implants for children, and two years ago, it started covering endoscopic ear examinations; this year, it has fully covered bilateral cochlear implants for children. These are all results of the efforts of our predecessors, particularly under the strong advocacy of Minister An-Suey Shiao. In developed countries, otological diseases are given much more importance than in Taiwan, and the future depends on the continuous advocacy and promotion by our otological society and experts, hoping to achieve better results in Taiwan in the coming years.

The society has always promoted international exchanges. Since hosting the Asia-Pacific Symposium on Cochlear Implants (APSCI) in 2003, we have also organized the East Asian Symposium on Otology (EASO) and the International Tinnitus Research Initiative Conference (TRI). An important upcoming task is the successful organization of the EASO conference in 2024, chaired by former chairman Liu. This will be the first major international medical conference hosted by the otological society since the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an excellent opportunity for Taiwan's otology sector to showcase itself in East Asia and globally. We should also actively seek to host other world-class medical conferences in the future.

I am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support and trust from the current members and directors, which has allowed me to be unanimously elected as the chairman. Although I am honored, I also feel a great sense of responsibility. Recognizing that individual capabilities are limited, I hope that all directors and supervisors, as well as our predecessors, will continue to offer valuable advice, building on the achievements of the previous chairman Liu and Secretary-General Wu, and continue to serve our otology colleagues. Furthermore, I am fortunate to have invited Chao-Hui Yang from Kaohsiung Chang Gung Hospital, who has completed training abroad, to serve as the secretary-general. Together, we aim to enhance the medical services, clinical teaching, and research standards of otology in Taiwan.

Professor Chung-Feng Hwang
Chang Gung University, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Hospital

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