Silver Spike

Case Film

Presentation Board

Product / ServiceTHE PAIN SOUND LAB
CategoryE05. Education & Services aimed at Non-Healthcare Professionals
EntrantOZMA Tokyo, JAPAN
PR Agency OZMA Tokyo, JAPAN
Entrant Company OZMA Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Sawako Kurebayashi OZMA Inc. Senior Director
Koshiro Nomura OZMA Inc. Senior Director
Madoka Igarashi J. Public Relations, Inc. Director
Shoichi Ochiai OZMA Inc. Director
Hinako Tanaka OZMA Inc. PR Planner
Yuko Tsushima OZMA Inc. PR Planner
Satoshi Kanai OZMA Inc. PR Planner
Yuumi Narita OZMA Inc. PR Planner

The Campaign

The Pain Sound Lab was designed to create a new method of communicating in pain treatment between doctors and patients. Nerve pain is an invisible affliction, making it difficult to diagnose. Likewise, many patients suffering from nerve pain do not know how to describe their symptoms. The idea was to use “sounds of word” in describing pain. In Japanese, people tend to express their feelings with sound of words(onomatopeia)such as Waku Waku for exciting. Sound itself is non-vocabulary with no meaning. By bringing doctors and linguists together, The Pain Sound Lab conducted research on pain sound. After releasing our findings, patients can describe their nerve pain with simple words like Jin Jin, and doctors utilize them to improve diagnosis. 2 million patients have been diagnosed properly and had appropriate medication prescribed. The method’s academic values have been praised highly and the study done by a member of The Pain Sound Lab was featured in a medical journal. Today, pain sound is taught in graduate programs, and is the subject of research by doctors throughout the country.

The Brief

The goal was to raise awareness of pain, especially nerve pain, and reveal it as a disease so that patients realize the need for receiving medical examinations. At the same time, we intended doctors to focus not only on treating primary diseases but also actively relieving pain because the condition itself was already a problem. By achieving the goal, patients are given the opportunity to reach appropriate treatment. In order to do so, we aimed to create a new method of communicating for doctors and patients to understand each other in medical examinations.

Creative Execution

The Pain Sound Lab, a collaboration of doctors and linguists was set up in order to conduct research on the sound of pain. It involved leading experts among different fields such as the director of Japan Society of Pain Clinicians as a medical specialist (Dr. Ogawa), a linguist and a researcher on simplifying medical expression from National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, (Prof. Takeda and Prof. Tanaka) a renowned professor specializing in mimetic words (Prof. Ono), and a specialist in medical communication (Prof. Sugimoto). They analyzed 1,390 sounds of word and compared them to 8,000 patients in order to select specific pain sound which best reflects nerve pain, such as Jin Jin and Piri Piri. We released our findings to the public through the website and seminars so that anyone could access them. Now patients can describe their pain with simple pain sound like Jin Jin.

Numerous research laboratories and media outlets responded. Patients became aware of their pain as problems and conscious of having check-ups at hospitals, and doctors realized the need of relieving pain as treatment. Nerve pain made itself known as one of the cause for severe chronic pain. Among patients who had been suffering from chronic pain, the awareness of nerve pain increased from 47% to 80%. (Source: Pfizer Survey) By using pain sound, 80% of patients have felt confident to describe their symptoms to doctors. (Source: Pfizer Survey) The number of prescribed patients who have been diagnosed properly as suffering from nerve pain, has risen from 260,000 to 2 million. (Source: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Safety Information, MHLW) The study done by a member of The Pain Sound Lab was featured in Pain Clinic, a medical journal which caught the attention from doctors. Today pain sound is introduced in graduate programs.

We designed the new method to be simple and easy to say so that not only doctors but also patients with non-specialized knowledge could actually use them. The idea was to use sounds of word (onomatopeia)to describe how patients feel their pain precisely. We invited linguists together with medical specialists to design a new approach in medical expression by specifying sounds of word for nerve pain. In Japanese, people tend to express their feeling with sound. In Western languages, sound of words are imitative words which describes actual sound. In Japanese, they are mimetic words which are short and simple expression representing emotions and sensations. They are commonly used among families and friends in a casual manner. In addition, we valued this new method to be approved medically so that doctors can actively use them to improve diagnosis.