Honor Awards and Distinguished Service Awards are part of the Academy's system for recognizing meritorious service. Members receive honor points for participation in a variety of activities and leadership roles. Non-members can receive honor points but are not eligible for Honor Awards or Distinguished Service Awards. However, points earned as a non-member convey if the individual becomes an AAO-HNS member.
The Honor Award is the first award a member can obtain for participation in certain activities. A member can earn only one Honor Award in a lifetime. To receive an Honor Award, a member must earn 10 volunteer service points over a minimum of five years. The Honor Award point system is constructed to promote recognition not only for the quantity of service, but also for the variety and longevity of service. A maximum of two points, each of which must come from a different category of service, can be accrued each year.
The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is a recognition of volunteer service beyond the level of an Honor Award. Members who attain 50 honor points, including the 10 points received for an Honor Award, receive the Distinguished Service Award. There is no limit on the number of Distinguished Service Awards a member may receive. All honor points, regardless of quantity earned in each category in a year, are credited toward the DSA.