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What Is Lip Reading?


Unlike other treatments of sensorineural hearing loss, lip reading is a skill taught to improve communication by looking at one’s lips, facial expressions and body movement. These visual cues allow the listener to better decipher the context and participate in conversations. More often used among individuals with a hearing impairment, lip reading is useful when speech becomes inaudible to the listener. The severity of hearing loss will influence the necessity to use lip reading and visual cues to hear and communicate with others. In fact, many individuals will naturally begin to rely on vision as their hearing loss progresses over time.

To become more proficient in speech or lip reading, it is beneficial to learn a set of skills from an audiologist, speech pathologist or hearing healthcare professional. Such skills involve the following:

Focus on the topic of the conversation not necessarily every word that is being said. The use of speech patterns will become clearer to the listener when understanding the context of the conversation rather than specific words.

Follow cues and identify speech sounds by watching the movement of the speaker’s mouth, tongue and jaw.

Lip reading is also best used when the listener can fill in information that was missed on the face by observing feedback within the situation. Although lip reading has been thought to primarily focus on facial cues, the use of expressions and body language is critical in visually understanding others.

Language comprehension, concentration and the use of good lighting are all important in becoming a successful speech reader.

When seeking treatment for your hearing impairment, it is not uncommon that there may be limitations when using amplification in specific environments or situations. Therefore, to better improve your quality of life, you may want to consider all other possibilities beyond the use of amplification. Contact us today to learn more about how communication strategies and lip reading skills can help you.