Lipreading: Your Third Hearing Aid
People with hearing loss are usually very good lip readers. ln fact, most people get help from lipreading, even if they don’t know it. When you use those lipreading skills, your understanding of speech goes up about 30%!
Fortunately, the sounds that are hard 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 lips and are very visible. With the help of lipreading, it’s easy to “hear” the difference between “fin” and “pin.”
The sounds that are hardest to hear are easiest to lipread.
That’s why almost everyone hears better when they can see the person talking. And lipreading happens automatically. You don’t have to think about how “f” looks different from “p.” You don’t need special classes. But you do have to be able to see the person who’s talking!
Test your lipreading skills
With your eyes closed, adjust the volume of your television until you’re able to hear the sound, but not understand the voices. Now open your eyes and see how much more you can understand. You will see the difference that lipreading can make.
- Ask the speaker to get your attention before starting a conversation.
- Make sure you can see the speaker’s face.
- Watch the person’s face, not just the lips. Facial expressions and gestures give important clues.
- Concentrate on the general conversation rather than individual sounds and words.
- Concentrate on how much you understand, not on what you miss.
Lipreading can be a great source of help. lt’s almost like having a third hearing aid… and it’s free!