Hearing loss - lipreading | Better Health Channel
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Hearing loss - lipreading

Summary

Lipreading or speechreading can help people who have lost part or all of their hearing to understand conversations going on around them. People use clues such as facial expressions and gestures, as well as lip movements, to interpret what people are saying. When speaking to a hearing impaired person, it is important that you face them, speak clearly and naturally, and don't cover your mouth.

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Lipreading is the art of being able to see speech sounds. It is often called speechreading because people use other clues, such as facial expressions, gestures and surroundings, to help them understand what is being said.

Lipreading can help people who are hearing impaired to cope better with their hearing loss. Not every word needs to be understood for lipreading to be useful. Other skills can be developed that help a person understand better what is being said.

The benefits of lipreading


Lipreading benefits:
  • People who can only hear about half of what is said – they will understand more through lipreading.
  • People who previously had normal hearing – lipreading helps them to participate better in conversations.
The extent to which lipreading is helpful will depend on each person’s natural aptitude for lipreading and the amount of effort applied.

Limitations of lipreading


Difficulties associated with lipreading include:
  • Normal speech is too fast to lipread easily.
  • Many speech movements are not seen.
  • Many speech patterns are similar, leading to confusion and doubt.
  • Some words look alike, even though they sound different.
  • Many people do not speak clearly.
Lipreading cannot make up for the hearing that has been lost. It is not possible for a person to consistently understand everything that is said by lipreading alone.

Learning to lipread


Developing the ability to lipread requires:
  • Practice
  • Patience
  • Perseverance.
Once the ability to lipread has been developed, constant use is required or your skill will decrease.

When speaking to a hearing impaired person


When speaking to a hearing impaired person, it is important that you face them, speak clearly and naturally, and don’t cover your mouth.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • The ability to lipread takes time and practice to develop.
  • Lipreading helps people with previously normal hearing or limited hearing.
  • Facial expressions and gestures also help lipreaders to understand what is being said.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:

The Better Health Channel

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The Better Health Channel

Last reviewed: September 2012

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.


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Lipreading or speechreading can help people who have lost part or all of their hearing to understand conversations going on around them. People use clues such as facial expressions and gestures, as well as lip movements, to interpret what people are saying. When speaking to a hearing impaired person, it is important that you face them, speak clearly and naturally, and don't cover your mouth.



Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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