Medical Transcriptionists - Protect Your Ears!

By Mary Ruff-King

If you are a new medical transcriptionist, it won’t be long before someone screams in your ears. Not literally, of course. However, it is a given that sooner or later you will be listening to a tape or a digital recording and someone in the background will be screaming or some other awful noise will accost your ears. This can actually be painful and quite startling.

Doctors are notorious for flipping x-rays around while dictating which can jar your ears. Also, a sudden ringing of the telephone or even the flushing of a toilet (!) can cause you to yank off that headset in a hurry. I think most medical transcriptionists agree that we have all suffered from aural fatigue at one time or another by having to transcribe dictation accompanied by noisy backgrounds and various god-awful sounds.

Medical transcriptionists can protect their ears to some degree by placing the earbuds of the headset over the tragus (plural form: tragi) of each ear and turning up the volume, if required. When working in an office environment, this is the best solution to this problem.

Those medical transcriptionists who work at home have the luxury of not wearing headsets at all and can turn up the volume without fear of disrupting anyone else, save their family and/or pets.

If this problem persists throughout the dictation, report the noisy dictation to your supervisor and play the tape/digital recording for him/her. The doctor can be apprised of it too, either directly by you or by your supervisor, depending upon your particular work situation. Sometimes that will help, at least for a while.

Also, you can go one step further and purchase a custom set of earplugs that can be worn when you are in a movie theater or a noisy place, such as a mall. Custom-made earplugs may be obtained at local gun shows, and they will serve you very well in your efforts to protect your hearing when you are not transcribing medical reports.

Medical transcriptionists need to protect their ears, their most valuable asset, at all times but especially when transcribing dictated medical reports.

Mary Ruff-King is an author who has worked as a medical transcriptionist for many years. Medical transcription is a field which is wide open for opportunity and advancement and offers flexible work opportunities. For further information on medical transcription and related articles/information about becoming a medical transcriptionist please visit

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