Auditory Implant Service

Sam and Anna’s Top Tips – Lipreading Classes

Anna and SamHave you ever thought about joining a lipreading class?

Whether you are newly implanted or had your cochlear implant for many years; recently lost your hearing or have a long term hearing loss, there is much to be gained from joining a class.

Lipreading (or speechreading) is the ability to recognise the lip shapes, gestures and facial movements of the person you’re talking to, in order to get a better understanding of what they are saying. It is a vital communication skill.

Although many cochlear implant users find they are more relaxed during communication and less tired at the end of the day compared to before they had their implant, a change that may be attributed to the reduced effort needed for communication; supplementing sound with visual clues is still important especially in less than ideal listening conditions.

We can all understand speech better if we can see the speaker’s face, particularly in a noisy environment. However, to become a good lipreader requires skill and concentration as many words look similar on the lips (try saying these words in the mirror without using your voice and you’ll see what we mean: man bad pat.) A lipreading tutor will help you build on your existing skills.

Lipreading classes are the best place to learn to lipread. ATLA (Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults) provide information on the availability of classes. Classes are informal, friendly and taught by a qualified tutor. You will learn about the different shapes that sounds make on the lips so that you can identify them, how to fill in the gaps of speech that you can’t hear and how to use clues from the context of the conversation. As an added bonus, classes can be an ideal way to meet other people with a hearing loss in a safe and welcoming environment.

Although attending a class is the best means of learning to lipread, there are some online resources available if you are unable to access a class. Take a look at www.lipreadingpractice.co.uk  to get started.

Do contact Sam or Anna if you would like further information or advice.