Why do we need silent letters ? When we can keep it as it is. Eg., hour

silent letters are distinctive at times 
by which i mean you can distinguish between two words with the same pronunciation if they are written in front of you on paper 

e.g. the knight saved the damsel in the night 
without the silent k the sentence would read 
the night saved the damsel in the night 

though this may seem pretty obvious to you which "night" refers to which meaning 

so though it seems like they are unnecessary they actually simplify the language 

some also give various meanings 

like the pneumo refers to respiratory 
but if written without the p as neumo we would jump to the conclusion that it is related to something neurologically based 

thus silent letters shape meaning and actually strangely uncomplicate things make life easier 

and when i was little during spelling bees, i found spelling the silent letter words easier... 

then again maybe that was just me. 

hope i helped 

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it is used to change the pronunciation of the word 
for example compare the word fin and fine 'e' is used to change the pronunciation of the word .
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