Lip Reading For Deaf People: Does it Really Help?
Communication is a really crucial part of our life, and we are used to incorporating it into every part of our lives. Be it everyday life, social life, or working life, we have to keep interacting with other people. But people who have hearing loss might often feel very left out as they might be unable to accurately follow what other people are saying. Especially in crowded places and social gatherings, it becomes harder to follow conversations with friends and family members, if you have hearing loss problems to some degree.
And as people with hearing loss can become really frustrated and depressed due to facing these problems while interacting with other people, they might feel really reluctant to join social gatherings and engage in conversations. But the self-imposed isolations don’t help at all, and it worsens the situation further as you might start to feel alone, and miserable. There are many things that can help in these situations. While many use hearing aids to listen better, many people with hearing loss tend to resort to lipreading. Lipreading can help a person with impaired hearing to understand speeches more and enable them to be more active in conversations. Concentrating on lip movements can really help to make up for the lack of hearing ability.
What Is Lipreading?
While some people think of lipreading as a set of skills, others believe it to be an art.
Lipreading is said to be not precise, as some words and sounds look very similar. Also, it relies so much on the lip reader's own background knowledge of the language and on the quality of the speaker’s speech. But it is evident that speech reading has enabled many people to function much more effectively in the hearing world.
Lipreading is considered to be a way of using skills, knowledge, and general awareness, along with using any clues to make sense of what you are hearing, or if you have no hearing, to understand and follow what another person is saying so that you can take part in the conversation.
However, this is not always easy, as no matter how good at lipreading you are, there are some conditions that are difficult to work in. For instance, lipreading is especially difficult in large, noisy gatherings and meetings and places where you are listening to speakers with no loop system in place.
But overall, lipreading can be a lifeline, which will enable you to be more confident and to take a more active part in various large and small group situations. And lipreading is more important in the world we live in, as using sign language is not always an option. We live in the hearing world where very few people know how to sign, so lipreading can come to the rescue.
How to Read Lips More Comfortably
Learning to lipread a never-ending process. There are various formations to learn, different dialects, etc. Also, every face is different, which is dealing in its own way with words. However, the more you learn, the more your confidence will grow, and the more your communication ability will get enhanced and stronger. Dome ways of making things more comfortable are-
- Asking people to look at you and speak clearly.
- Asking them not to cover their mouth, and to speak a little slower and clearly. But with normal rhythm and intonation.
- Asking them to face you and keep still, if possible.
- Finding a quiet place to have your conversation if possible. Soft furnishings, and curtains help to absorb noise and make lipreading easier.
- Making sure the room is well lit and there is light on the other person’s face.
- Being at the same height if possible, at least not too far away from the speaker.
- Letting others know what’s best for you, like where you need to sit for different situations.
- Asking others to rephrase, repeat or write it down if possible. Keeping a pen and paper with you can help a lot, or you can use a small, portable writing tablet.
- Wearing "I lip read badge" or lipreading wristbands to make people aware of your communication needs.
You might feel tired of doing these. And honestly, lipreading requires a lot of concentration, and you’ll need to have frequent breaks, especially at first. So, when you get the chance, try to close your eyes, and relax for a few minutes. Take a time out!
Benefits of Lipreading
You might be struggling to hear what a person is saying to you during a conversation if you’ve hearing loss. You might be able to pick up portions of what they’re saying, but if you learn how to lip-read you’ll be able to understand the conversation a whole lot more. If you had better hearing previously, and have developed hearing loss due to aging or exposure to noise, lip-reading will allow you to take part in conversations like you used to before.
The feeling of learning how to lip-read is often described as if the world is opening up again. Lipreading will allow you to broaden your communication, and give you the ability to understand the things that are going on around you. Lip reading can provide the skills to help rebuild your social skills and confidence.
Everyone knows that communication is a huge part of life, and without it, things can look really dull and saddening. Learning how to lip-read can be really beneficial to your overall well-being, and it can enable you to communicate with your loved ones more easily and meet new people in the process too. While you are learning to do that, you can go for other helping materials too, such as hearing aids.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is lipreading difficult?
Ans: Lipreading is difficult to do with normal speech because it is too quick. There are a lot of speech movements that aren't visible. Many speech patterns resemble one another, causing confusion and mistrust. Even if they sound different, some words have the same appearance.
Q. What is the difference between Speechreading and lipreading?
Ans: Speechreading is the technique of measuring the lips, tongue, expressions, gestures, body movement, and anything else that offers indications of what the person is saying. Lipreading is the method of studying the lips to get as much speech detail as possible.
Article published by HearingLink, updated 2018