Lipreading: Extra Help At No Extra Charge
Most people with hearing loss are good lipreaders, even if they don’t know it. And when they use those lipreading skills, their understanding of speech goes up by about 30%.
You don’t need special lessons or classes to benefit from lipreading. Fortunately, the sounds that are hardest to hear are easiest to lipread. For example, “f” as in ”fin” and “p” as in “pin” are difficult to hear because they are soft, high-pitched sounds. But these sounds are easy to lipread because they’re made with the lip and tongue and are very visible. With the help of lipreading, it’s fairly easy to “hear” the difference between ”fin” and “pin.”
Also, most lipreading happens automatically. You don’t have to think about how “f” looks different from “p.” But you do have to be able to see the person who’s talking!
A lipreading experiment
Try this experiment: Set the volume of your television to a soft level. Now close your eyes. You should be able to hear the sound, but you can’t understand the voices. Now open your eyes and see how much easier it is to understand the voices. That’s the difference lipreading makes.
The following strategies will make lipreading easier and more effective:
- Ask the speaker to get your attention before starting a conversation.
- Make sure you can see the speaker’s face. You can’t read lips from another room!
- Watch the speaker’s face, not just the lips. Facial expressions and gestures often give important clues.
- Concentrate on the general conversation rather than individual sounds and words.
You don’t have to understand everything you hear. Concentrate on how much you understand, not on what you miss. You’ll see that lipreading is a great source of help. It’s almost like having a third hearing aid—and it’s free!
Copyright 2009 Hearing HealthCare News