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If you are learning English phonetics, a useful thing to assist you in this, can also be to learn the phonetic spelling of sounds in English - on the BBC for example, they say there are 44 different sounds, although some have different opinions: "http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/sounds".
A very useful site for British English is here: "http://cambridgeenglishonline.com/Phonetics_Focus", where you can learn English phonetic spelling etc.. As regards American English, this site here: "http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/english/frameset-ad3.html" is very useful.
As for the benefit of learning the written symbols of the sounds, this means that if you look in a dictionary, you can read the phonetic spelling - English is "not phonetic", meaning that if you look at a word, unlike Japanese etc., you cannot always tell how to say it.