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Benefits of lipreading
  • 13 Dec, 21
  • By Emma Holmes

Benefits of lipreading

As we are sadly still having to wear face masks due to Covid - it would be interesting to know how many people have struggled to ‘hear’ someone wearing a face mask – perhaps including people who don’t have [or don’t think they have] hearing loss.  When wearing a face mask quite a bit of the face is hidden and highlights the fact that lipreading is actually ‘face reading’ as we tend to look for visible clues on a person’s face as a whole to help check we have heard them correctly.

For any fans of Strictly Come Dancing has anyone noticed that Rose Ayling-Ellis is able to understand what her dance partner, Giovanni Pernice is saying without the need for a British Sign Language Interpreter? This is because she has learnt to lipread him in the relatively short time they have been working together on the show.

What proportion of sounds can be seen clearly on the lips? Only about 30% so how on earth do people lipread?! Well it’s a clever mix of looking at the lips, jaw, eyes, facial expressions and body language, alongside the memory of sounds (for those who lose their hearing, rather than having hearing loss from birth) and any residual hearing that people have (although some people may have no residual hearing) and also the brain links things up and makes the connections – sometimes correctly, sometimes not! e.g. “Would you like some Fish and Chips? And not Fish and Ships”!

Lipreading is a great skill to learn and classes can be fun as you are surrounded by people experiencing similar issues and challenges.  The benefits are that it improves confidence when communicating, helps to develop mental linking and anticipation skills, improves memory and explains clearly why some words are tricky to lipread.

if you are interested in finding out more – have a look at the CELST website and register to join a lipreading class, either face to face or online as soon as places are available.

The following website is also worth a look: https://lipreadingpractice.co.uk/.