Since the very beginnings of medicine, physicians have been concerned with the study of normal and the therapy of disturbed verbal communication. However, no professional name for their specific activities has been handed down. The ancient Athenian phonascoi and Roman phonasci were voice trainers and not physicians although they also advised the performers on dietetic and behavioral measures. The British throat specialist Sir Morell Mackenzie was the first physician who called himself – in the eighties of the 19th century – phoniatros. Yet, his pioneering work found no echo and was reported only eight decades later. Hermann Gutzmann Sr. is credited as the founder of phoniatrics. In fact, in 1905 he laid the foundation for this specialty but he called it medical voice and speech pathology (Sprachheilkunde). The present-day name of phoniatrics was first used – independently of Mackenzie’s proposal – by Miloslav Seeman and Hugo Stern, and it was the latter of the two who introduced it in 1919 to the public. After the formation of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) by Emil Fröschels in 1924, phoniatrics has been accepted worldwide as the official name of medical communicology.

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