Lipreading – an introduction!

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Lipreading introduction

According to Action on Hearing Loss 1 in 6 people in the UK have some form of hearing loss.

Here are our top facts about Lipreading in the UK
  • We all lipread a little bit

Most of us use lipreading skills without realising it. Being able to see someone talking helps us fill in the gaps if we can’t hear due to background noise.

  • It isn’t all about the mouth

Lipreading clearly does require the person to watch a speakers mouth. But successful lipreading also involves watching the tongue and jaw movements, follow rhythm and stress, watch facial expressions and body posture. Knowing the subject, being aware of context and using residual hearing also adds to a successful lipreading experience.

  • Only 30% of spoken English is visible on the mouth

A lot of our speech sounds made inside the mouth or at the back of the throat. You can mistake visible lipshapes too. The visible speechsound of “Fuh” (placing the top teeth on the bottom lip) looks the same as a “Vuh”. Van and Fan will look the same on the mouth.

  • Learning to lipread won’t help you become a spy!

There are many things that impact on a person’s ability to lipread another person. Accents, mumbling, speaking in a different language, facial hair, lighting all impact on the clarity. In addition being tired or hungry can reduce your ability to concentrate.

  • Learning lipreading doesn’t hinder the success of a cochlear implant

Previously cochlear implantees were advised to only build up their access to sounds through their implant. However recent research shows that using lipreading can assist in better hearing. (

Indigo Access offer private 10 week classes. Contact for more information!


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