The situation of Phoniatrics in Italy is complex at the moment, reflecting a rich and long history. While many important personalities contributed to the development of Phoniatrics since the first half of the XXth century, Phoniatrics exists as an independent specialty since 1977. In 1999 after a University reform the Medical Specialties of Audiology and Phoniatrics became a single specialty; it is called Audiology and Phoniatrics, it lasts 5 years, but it is still independent from Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.
Currently there are two Scientific Phoniatrics Societies, the Italian Society of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (Società Italiana di Foniatria e Logopedia, SIFEL, www.sifel.net) and the Italian Society of Audiology and Phoniatrics (Società Italiana di Audiologia e Foniatria, SIAF, www.sia-f.it) and one labor union, the Unified Labor Union of the Italian Audiologists and Phoniatricians (Sindacato Unico degli Audiologi e Foniatri Italiani). The SIFEL organizes a national congress each year, while the SIAF congresses take place every two years.
It is difficult to estimate the number of Italian Phoniatricians as well as the number of Phoniatricians in each scientific societies, since no official record exists of the each member daily activities; nonetheless, it is estimated that there are 300 Phoniatricians practicing Phoniatrics in Italy.
Ass. Professor Dr. Antonio Schindler, General Secretary of the UEP, Vice-President of the SIFEL, Board Member of the SIAF, Milan, Italy