Sunday, September 9, 2007

Speech Impediments

Some doctors suffer from speech impediments. Although they may have worked hard to compensate for these problems when speaking with other people, they are not always aware of how their speech problems can affect their dictation.
  • Lisping

    Depending on the severity of a lisp, the person with a lisping defect creates noises which resemble the sounds of someone spitting. If someone with a lisp is speaking to you in a face-to-face conversation, you might find yourself stepping back to avoid being sprayed with saliva.

    If you have a lisp and must dictate over the phone, hold the phone a little bit further away from your mouth so there is less spitting noise and it becomes easier for the transcriptionist to understand what you are saying.

  • Stuttering

    Doctors who stutter have an especially difficult time dictating. Although they are not looking at another person when they speak, the sounds they create (particularly when repeating "d," "s," "sh," "t," and "th" sounds) can also produce spitting sounds.

    If you are a stutterer, try to spend more time organizing your thoughts before you dictate. Speak slowly, carefully, and relax. Do the best you can and keep working to become more comfortable with the process of dictation.

  • Whistling "S"

    Sibilant sounds grate on a transcriptionist's ears. A "whistling 'S'" speech defect can be as irritating as listening to the sound of chalk scratching on a blackboard.

    If you have this particular kind of speech defect, hold the phone further away from your mouth so that you are not whistling directly into the microphone. Here is Carol Channing doing one of her most famous comic routines:

  • Transposing sounds

Doctors with foreign accents often transpose letters like "w"for "v" or "l" for "r." They will sometimes mispronounce a word in such a way as to severely alter its meaning. This sentence from a Chinese-American doctor (who has trouble pronouncing a hard "g" on the ends of certain words) is a good example:

"The patient is breathing oxygen through nasal prawns."

Obviously, this doctor wants to use the word prongs instead of prawns (not too many patients are found lying in a hospital bed with giant shrimp stuck up their noses). But by mispronouncing a critical word, the physician has completely changed the meaning of the sentence.

[Cartoon #8 ]

Next: Misplaced Literary Aspirations

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