BACKGROUND : Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology have enabled researchers to identify the genetic background underlying human illness. In addition, the latest genome editing technology, CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9), provides great potential to edit genomic DNA sequences precisely with high efficiency. This technology has been evaluated for treatment of genetic diseases in recently published preclinical studies. Since many such genetic disorders can affect functional structures in the head and neck area, the technology bears high therapeutic potential in otorhinolaryngology. OBJECTIVE : In this article, we summarize the concept of CRISPR-Cas9-based therapies, recent achievements in preclinical applications, and future challenges for the implementation of this technology in otolaryngology. METHODS : Genetic targeting strategies were analyzed or established using genome sequencing data derived from online databases and literature. RESULTS : Recent research on animal models has shown that genome editing can be used to treat genetic diseases by specifically targeting mutant genomic loci. For example, one preclinical study in the field of otolaryngology has demonstrated that inherited autosomal dominant deafness in mice can be treated using CRISPR-Cas9. Moreover, the same strategies can be used to establish applications for the treatment of head and neck cancer. The greatest challenge appears to be establishment of a system for the safe and efficient delivery of therapeutic nucleotides in clinics. CONCLUSIONS : In theory, genome editing could be used in otolaryngology to target disease-causing genomic loci specifically. However, various challenges have to be overcome until applications can be used clinically.