Do you understand letters when someone spells a name or word to you? Some letters sound alike and are hard to distinguish. Is there any way to get the spelling right?
When I don’t understand a person’s name, I ask them to spell it for me. Letters are hard for me to distinguish because of my hearing loss and you will not believe how I can botch a name.
A man called and said his name was “Pentony,” but to me it sounded like, Bentony, or was it, “Tenpenny?” or “Bemgony” or Ginpony or maybe Baloney? Then the problem got worse when I asked him to spell it. On the first letter, are you saying ‘B’ as in boy? Or ‘C’ as in cat? Or ‘D’ as in David? Or ‘G’ as in George? Or ‘T’ as in Tom? Or ‘P’ as in Pope? Or ‘K’ as in kick?
Now I am in deep trouble and still confused what this guy’s name is. Today with my CapTel captioning telephone even the captionist does not always get it right. This is the high cost of being hard of hearing.
Two of my hard of hearing friends are pharmacists and are really having a difficult time hearing those strange medical terms from the doctors. My friends cannot afford to make any mistakes on prescriptions. It is too dangerous.
They solved their own in-office communication problems by using a speaker phone. They have two co-workers listen for them on every call that comes in. This is time consuming and expensive in the medical profession. Doctors do not have time to repeat orders or explain what the medicine is for. The pharmacists have to get it the first time and get it right. This method will not work for me.
I had to develop a way to get the correct spelling by creating my own phonetic alphabet that will help me to get it right. The International Phonetic code used by the military, police and boys scouts did not help me enough. Take the following alphabet and keep it by your telephone.
Harrison’s Hard of Hearing Phonetic Alphabet Code:
© 2012 Let My People Hear, Inc.
Keep this card by the phone and tell people up front that you are using a phonetic code for spelling. Confirm every word by repeating it; a simple tool I trust it will be helpful.
We need all the help we can get for clear communication. Tell us about how you deal with the challenge of spelling words or names.
Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!
David M. Harrison
Sign up for my free copy of “Seven Principles for Communicating with Hard of Hearing” [Click Here]