The eye can listen, too

To a hearing-impaired person a hearing aid is indispensable. But the ability to lip read may supplement the hearing aid and make a conversation more complete.

Observing lip movements, facial mimicking and body language may help the hearing-impaired person understand what is being said. But listening with both ears and eyes does not come natural. It demands effort and strength.

Lip reading is best developed in supportive groups and environments. So, it is a good idea to check out if lip reading classes are taught near your home. If not, it would be helpful to look for support from family and friends in trying to learn lip reading from lessons offered on video tape.

The learning process never ends. Faces and dialects vary, but the more you learn the greater your confidence and the better your ability to communicate with the rest of the world.

Learning lip reading takes time, patience and understanding, but the rewards are worth it. So, always ask people to look directly at you, keep their face in a well lit position and speak clearly.


Here is advice on how to start lip reading:

  • Sit in a position so you can see the speaker's face in bright light.
  • Make yourself comfortable and try to relax.
  • Try to remember the tone of speech and how the words are articulated by the movements of the mouth. Using your memory you will learn to recognize sounds you are no longer able to hear.
  • Pay close attention to the movements of the mouth, tongue and jaw of the speaker. Ask him or her to rephrase the sentence when you do not understand what is said.
  • Pay attention to the speaker's facial expressions. You can read information about subject and mood in facial expressions.
  • Notice the speaker's gestures, such as nods, pointing and glances in other directions.
  • Try as fast as possible to work out what is the subject of the conversation. Words are easier to understand when you know the context.

Remember that lip reading is a combination of seeing, listening and feeling. It is only natural that you tire quickly. Rest your eyes for a moment and resume your work.

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