Lipreading Practice

Senior Citizens group

May 2013


Lipreading Presentation

Hello it’s good to be here to talk to you.

I was at quite an important talk some time ago. It was all about keeping your heart healthy. The speaker had some interesting things to say but – I’ll have to get up to show you what happened .........

Every time the speaker was facing away from me I lost the plot!! Also the speaker ‘s voice often became very soft when a point was being made so again no chance there.

I’ll try not to do that to you today. Remember I can’t hear how loudly I’m speaking so let me know if I’m too loud or too soft.

Communication is one of our most important features as human beings. Communication can take many forms including speech, facial expressions touch gestures and other body language. Often you can tell how a person is feeling just by looking at them. If someone is happy they have a bright and bubbly appearance but if they are feeling down their body seems to sag and look sad or miserable. Listening is an important part of communication and when you have poor hearing you often miss important parts of the sentence. So as you can imagine what you hear doesn’t always make sense.

Those of us, who have a hearing problem, find social conversations very difficult especially when in large groups. It is here that lip reading can be very useful. You know what I mean I hear better when I’ve got my glasses on. This is because I’m lip reading and I think that we all do this naturally. We often tend to be quite quiet because we can’t be sure we have heard correctly and we don’t want to make a fool of ourselves by saying something that is silly or doesn’t fit the conversation.

You may notice that we may say something that someone else has already said because we have realised what the conversation is about but haven’t heard all the people who are speaking.

I have been trying to lip read more from the television with varied success. Some of the speakers speak so quickly that it sounds like gobbled gook to me.

Those of us who have a hearing problem, need to practice so that we become even better at lip reading.

Some of us are lucky to go to lip reading classes where we can learn how to recognise what the sounds look like when they are being formed on the lips and to practise lip reading. Lip reading is not a magic wand, but it can help to make sense of what we are hearing. Knowing the topic or context of the conversation is very important to help us lip read more accurately.

This is because some of the sounds look very similar on the lips. e.g. pea bee me (without voice) look very similar but if you know the conversation is about a menu or meal then frequently you will see the word pea.

The context is very important in helping lip readers to make sense of what they are hearing and lip reading.

Sometimes those of us with a hearing loss can feel very isolated because we feel left out of the conversations.

It is very useful to have a buddy when we are in a group, someone who can help us to keep track of where the conversations are going, so that we don’t get left behind.

We also use finger spelling to help us to lip read. This is particularly useful for names of things. Here is my name in finger spelling. This is only useful if the other person knows how to finger spell.

When I am with my grandchildren they talk all the time and also sing. I can’t always hear the words but often I could recognise the tune or rhythm. Rhythm, is very important to lip readers. We can often recognise what is being said just by the rhythm. One magical moment I saw my young grandson singing to himself just for the pleasure of it. This is what he was singing can you lipread it. “Twinkle, Twinkle little star

Speaking to each other is very important to us. We chat about any and everything especially the weather.

Can you recognise these weather phrases?

Isn’t the weather awful today?

It’s a lovely day today

Is it raining today?

When we meet friends in the street we might say

Hello, how are you?

I haven’t seen you for ages

Have you been away?

And then we’ll talk about all kinds of different things. Conversations change their focus quite rapidly. We may start talking about the weather and end up speaking about hospital visits.

For people like me this is chatting is quite difficult.

Can you think of any ways to help someone like me to hear and lip read the conversation?

  1. You could Get Their Attention:
    • Tap them on the shoulder; wave your hand; or say their name until you have their attention. Amazing how even very hard of hearing people often hear their name.
    • Make sure you have their attention before beginning the conversation.
  2. Speak a little slower, a little Louder & Clearly No need to shout- keep the natural rhythm.
    Here are some well known nursery rhymes; join in when you’ve got it.
    Try this one; Humpty dumpty sat on the wall
    Humpty dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again

    Here’s another
    join in when you’ve got it;    
    Baa Baa Black sheep
    Have you any wool?
    Yes sir, yes sir three bags full.
    One for the master and one for the dame
    And one for the little boy who lives down the lane
  3. Use Gestures, Facial Expressions and other Body Language:
    • nodding or shaking your head for yes or no, shrugging your shoulders for uncertainty, facial expressions e.g. smiling or looking sad.
  4. Face the Person: demonstration
    • Everyone uses lip reading to fill in what they don't hear. Those who are HOH rely on it but need a clear view of your face and lips.
    • it is difficult to lip read if the speaker has their face pointing down and try to keep still not wandering up and down so keep looking at the lip reader .
    • Keep your hands away from your mouth.
    • Don't speak whilst eating.
  5. Gestures Here’s an old rhyme that has actions too - join in when you know it.
    There were 10 in the bed and the little one said roll over roll over
    9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 I’m lonely!!
  6. Find a Quiet Place: we all know how difficult it is to hear in pubs or parties etc. It’s mission impossible for HOH.
    • If poss no background noise - television or radio, fans or air
    • HOH people are usually not able to filter those sounds out to hear your words clearly.
    • When speaking in noisy situations try to speak with very clearly formed words.
    • Have a pen & paper handy so that if necessary you can write some words down to help clarify what is being said.
  7. Don't Exaggerate your Lip Movements and Over Enunciate: (EEyore toy)
    • Lip reading is difficult; only about 30-40 percent of the sounds are clearly recognisable. Remember Eeyore - he speaks so slowly and miserably – although it makes you laugh it can be quite difficult to follow what is said.
    • Clear speech helps everybody to follow more accurately.
  8. Make the CONTEXT Clear:
    • Knowing the CONTEXT is very important for a lip reader. It can help them to identify the words that they lip read.
    • Make sure they know the subject at the start of the conversation and when you change subjects. Be a buddy!!
    • Putting the sentence in a different way can help.

      I’m going to buy some cherries/sherry.
      Im having a drinks party and I’m going to buy some sherry.
  9. Check they’ve Understood:
    • If what you said is important, ask them to repeat it back to you. Check names, dates and times especially.
  10. Use apparatus where possible
    • Loop systems or personal amplifiers (Demo).
  11. Be patient
    • Most of all - Be patient - Lip readers can be very anxious about not hearing correctly and will need encouragement to ask for more help.

All these points help to make it much easier for lip readers and your help is vital to us.


I thought you might like to try some lipreading.


I’m not going to tell you what I am talking about at first. See how you get on.


Hello I’m Gloria McGregor. I live in Saffron Walden with my husband and three cats.

My husband’s name is John. Our three cats are very different. One is very fluffy and black and white. His name is Henry. One is a shorthaired black cat and his name is Zak. The smallest is a tabby cat and his name is Dennis. Sometimes they join our lipreading class but I don’t think they’re very good at lipreading.

What was I talking about?

I’m talking about myself, my husband, where I live and my animals. Try again.

Repeat.   Was that easier?

I thought we’d finish with a game.

Here is something that we ladies cannot do without. Can you lipread it? A hand bag show

Each time I will say in my handbag I have repeat. Without voice!!

In my hand bag I have

a comb        a lip stick        a mirror        a handkerchief        a purse         a pen        my diary        my rail card        my phone        my inhaler         some peppermints        a photo safety pin        hearing aid batteries


Cover and ask for people to help me put them away. Thank you so much



All material © Lipreading Practice 2024