Lipreading, an important part of speechreading, is a great tool for anyone with hearing loss. Lipreading is effective on its own and can also maximize the benefits of your hearing technology, improving overall communication. 

The following 8 steps are key for successful lipreading:

Step 1: Ensure You Can See the Speakers Face

Facing the speaker, ensuring that you are close enough to the speaker, and being in a well-lit area enables you to better see the lip movements of the person you are speaking with. 

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Stand within 6 feet of the speaker to give yourself a clear view of the speaker's lips and body cues.  

  • Avoid direct light behind the speaker to help prevent shadows on the speaker's face.

Being able to clearly see the speaker will help you concentrate on what is being said.

The lip movement videos in the Read Our Lips course are available in two angles - a frontal view and a side view. This will help you understand how lip movements look based on your positioning. 

Step 2: Reduce Background Noise

The presence of background noise can make lipreading more challenging. If you are finding it difficult to understand what somebody is saying, moving to another room or away from the source of the noise can make it easier to lipread. 

Public areas such as coffee shops, shopping malls, and restaurants can be noisy and may be challenging environments for listening. When first learning to lipread, start in more private spaces such as libraries, parks, and at home. These quieter places will allow you to use your available hearing to help you understand more of what is being said, making lipreading easier. 

Once you feel confident in your lipreading skills, try having conversation areas with more background noise. You will soon see how lipreading is an excellent tool to help you fill in the blanks. 
Step 3: Know the Context of the situation

When you know the subject of what's being discussed in conversation it can help you fill in words that you have missed. 

If you feel like you've lost track of the topic, it's okay to ask the speaker for clarification. Some words have very similar lip movements when spoken. 

For example, the words beach and peach involve similar movements of the mouth and have the same endings. If the conversation is taking place in the morning and you know someone mentioned breakfast, you are better able to distinguish what word is being used.

The Read Our Lips course teaches you the lip movements P, B, and M in Lesson 2.  Step 4: Evaluate the speaker’s visual cuesTaking note of the non-verbal cues of the speaker, such as facial expressions, body language, posture, and hand gestures can help you lipread more effectively. 

For example:

  • The speaker shifting their weight back and forth from foot to foot can indicate nervousness towards the subject.
  • Strong eye contact indicates confidence, while poor eye contact can allude to boredom or hesitation. 
  • Smiling indicates that the speaker feels happy towards the subject.

It is important to note that cultural differences can also be a factor (for example, eye contact is not appropriate in some cultures).
Step 5: Watch for the most visible lip movements

Lip movements for these mouth sounds can be easier to identify than others:

8 boxes with different lip movements. First row reads, “F, V, Ph”, “W, Wh”, “T, D, N”, and “P, B, M”. Second row reads “Sh, Ch”, “J, soft G”, “Th”, and “L”.

These lip movements comprise the 8 lessons of Read Our Lips - Level 1


Step 6: start small and slow

Begin your lipreading practice with single words. When you feel confident, transition into practicing simple phrases and eventually work up to longer sentences. 

This will help to build your confidence and prevent becoming overwhelmed.

The Read Our Lips course begins each type of lip movement with simple word practice, and then transitions into sentences. This allows for a better understanding of the lip movement and setting you up for success. You can start today - for FREE.

Step 7: Use logical thinking to fill in sentences

Logical thinking, the act of analyzing a situation and coming up with a reasonable solution, is a helpful thought process when lipreading.

When you only get pieces of a sentence, you can use reasoning to fill in the missing words. Using your instincts can help you logically tell what kind of words will make sense in a sentence. 

For example,

Can we plan __ go skiing __ week?

Can we plan to go skiing next week?

Do __ want to __ to __ movie?

Do you want to go to a movie?

This is a technique that you can use during your practice with Read Our Lips

Step 8: Use lateral thinking to make a guess

Lateral thinking involves generating ideas and solving problems through reasoning that is not immediately obvious. 

You can make an educated guess about what word may follow another by making assumptions. 

I am - happy, sad, hungry, etc. Can we - go, get, see, etc. Do you need - some help, a hand, etc.

By recognizing correlations between words, you can generate the unknown part of a sentence based on the known part of a sentence. 

Feeling overwhelmed? It's okay, lipreading is a skill that gets better with time and lots of practice. Read Our Lips is a great introduction to learning as it starts with most basic lip movements. 

Read Our Lips also has a lipreading support group on Facebook called The Lipreading Community - check it out!


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