Benefits of Lip Reading with Hearing Loss

Benefits of Lip Reading with Hearing Loss

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, lip reading is an incredibly useful tool to have at your disposal.

However you don’t have to have a severe hearing loss to benefit from learning how to lip read. 

Learning how to lip read improves focus which improves your ability to communicate with your friends and family. It is especially valuable in background noise And adding another skill to your communication toolbox builds your confidence and will make you more successful in your conversations.

What is lip reading?

Lip reading is the art of being able to see, interpret and understand speech sounds. It also includes interpreting expressions, gestures and the surrounding area to help put together what is being said. 

When you’re learning to lip read with a dedicated teacher, you’ll develop and practice new skills designed to help you have an easier learning experience.

These skills can include:

  • Learning and understanding the cues of a speaker’s mouth, teeth and tongue 
  • Understanding what different facial expressions, body language and gestures mean alongside the words that are being spoken
  • How to use your vision to assist with your listening 
  • Using prior knowledge to help fill in the gaps in the conversation (you won’t be able to lip-read every word)

Surprising lip-reading fact: It’s actually easier to lip-read longer words and whole sentences than shorter words! 

What are the benefits of lip reading for people with hearing loss?

If you have hearing loss, you may be struggling to hear everything a person says to you during a conversation. You might be able to pick up bits and pieces of what they’re saying - but if you learn how to lip read you’ll be able to understand a whole lot more of the conversation. 

If you previously had ‘normal’ hearing and have developed some form of hearing loss, lip reading will allow you to take part in conversations like you used to. 

The feeling of learning how to lip read is often described as if the world is opening up again. It allows you to broaden your communication giving you the ability to understand what’s going on around you. Lip reading can give you the skills to help rebuild your confidence and social skills. 

Communication is a huge part of life and without it, things can look quite dull. Learning how to lip read can be a huge benefit to your overall well-being, enabling you to communicate with your loved ones - and meet new people in the process too.

Is learning to lip read difficult? 

Some people pick up lip reading easier than others. For many, learning how to lip read isn’t something that comes easily. 

If you’ve just started learning how to lip read, you might have difficulty if:

  • The speech is too fast
  • You didn’t see the speech movements or take notice of the accompanying gestures
  • You confuse one word for another as many words look alike, but sound different
  • The speaker is not speaking clearly

Many speech patterns are similar which can be confusing and make you doubt what you heard. Lip reading can’t completely make up for your lost hearing, as you can’t understand everything that’s being said with lip reading alone. 

However, it is an incredibly useful tool to have, lipreading improves focus and decreases distractibility both are skills that crucial for understanding conversations.

Reasons to learn how to lip read

Studying to lip read can change the way you stay connected with the world. It can pull you out of isolation and bring you closer to being able to communicate with others more effectively. 

A lot of frustration comes from not being able to understand a conversation and can cause you to become a passive observer of life instead of an active participant. It can affect your work life, your studies, and even your relationships. 

Learning to lip read is one of the best ways to maintain that vital connection between your loved ones, your friends and your community. It allows you to stay in contact with the world around you and it gives you a better chance of having a more fulfilling life. 

It also gives you the opportunity to learn how to act in social situations and gives you the chance at feeling more confident in larger crowds. 

How do you learn how to lip read?

Taking the first step towards learning to lip read doesn’t have to be a big one. If you want a safe space to start your lip reading journey, our founder and Doctor of Audiology Julia is hosting ongoing lip reading class. If you’d like to sign up check out all the details here and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch.

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.

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