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words have powerSound-alike words pose a particular challenge in medical transcription. For example, there is a vast difference between the drugs Zantac and Xanax. It would be a crucial mistake to type the wrong word into a medical report. The best way to avoid problems with sound-alike words is to understand the context of the dictation. In the above example, if the dictator was discussing a patient’s stomach problem the word would probably be Zantac, but if they were discussing the patient’s nerves or stress levels it could be Xanax. When in doubt FLAG IT.

One good thing about sound-alike words is that they are helpful when trying to understand what a dictator is saying. For example, say that you think you hear “metatarsal” but the doctor is discussing carpal tunnel syndrome, then you could think to yourself “what sounds like metatarsal but has to do with the wrist” and hopefully you would come up with “metacarpal.”

You do not need to memorize the lists of sound-alike words and medications. However, do read through it and say each word out loud so you can hear how two completely different words can sound just alike. In the Grammar module you will learn all about sound-alike words so this is just a brief review!

Tip: Be very careful when dealing with a sound-alike word. Remember that ileus with an “e” sounds just like ilium with an “i.”

Also, of note here is that common English words can sound alike too, and you must be careful when transcribing to make sure that you do not mix up words like accept/except, too/two, and your/you’re.