Many people with hearing loss rely on lip reading to assist in communication. Lip reading, or speech reading, is when one uses a speaker’s lip movements, facial expressions and gestures to better understand a conversation.
If you find lip reading to be a useful tactic for better hearing and conversations, resolve to make 2014 the year that you take steps to improve lip reading.
Tell others how they can help you
There are some things that get in the way of lip reading. When others can help you by making minor adjustments, don’t be shy about speaking up and asking them for help. For example, gently let your friend know that when she chews gum, it’s difficult for you to know what she’s saying. Tell your husband that his mustache needs to be trimmed because you’d love to see what he has to say but it’s interfering with your conversation. Let friends and family members know that they can help you by facing you, keeping their mouths uncovered and choosing a well-lit room to talk in.
Learn what makes for good lip reading
Your ability to speechread is affected by various factors. Learn about them so you can make adjustments or improvements in the factors you have control over.
People are good at lip reading when they:
- Have had experience doing it. People who have been hard of hearing for a long time or who currently work or previously worked in noisy environments tend to be better speechreaders because they have the experience.
- Are native speakers of the language being spoken.
- Have good vocabulary skills, language knowledge and are good readers, too.
- Have good verbal short term memory.
- Are familiar with the speaker, as well as his or her accent and speech patterns.
- Have normal vision and are acutely sensitive to visual movement.
Thus, if you know that your verbal short term memory is a bit lacking, you can do brain-training games online that help improve that skill. You can also continue to practice lip reading. Once you get to know a particular person better, it should come easier to you.
Seek out classes or other resources
Gallaudet University offers a wealth of resources to help you improve your lip reading. You can also check out various YouTube videos with tips and tactics from others with hearing loss.