Not being able to understand what is being said around you can be frustrating and off-putting. It leaves you out of the “know.” And you can miss out on what is going on. But one way to overcome that, is to learn lip reading.
This is a skill that many people who suffer from hearing impairment should master. It is not as hard as you think. But with practice and some great strategies, you can pick up key words in a short time.
What is Lip Reading?
The art of learning to lip read involves using your eyes to “listen” to what someone is saying. You examine their lips, gestures, facial movements and speech pattern. However, for a novice, this can prove difficult. It becomes easier when you practice the skills learned, every chance you get.
Soon, you will easily decipher what someone is saying, without hearing their voice.
Lip Reading Strategies
There are some strategies that can help you with how to read lips.
- Having knowledge of the tongue, teeth and mouth movement cues.
- Analyzing the data given from the speaker’s gestures, body language and facial expressions along with the words they are saying.
- Utilizing your eyes to help understand the words
- Taking into account information that you knew beforehand to help understand words that are harder to decipher
It is an interesting tidbit to know, that you are likely to recognize or understand a full sentence or long phrase, better than a single word.
Fascinating Information About Lip Reading
There are some bits of information about lip reading that will make the task of understanding easier. That way, you can ensure that you set up the right conditions to master the art.
- The less distractions that are in your environment, the easier it is to understand lip reading. The quieter, the better.
- Mumblers and those who have a hard time speaking are harder to lip read. But generally, those who speak fluently are easier to understand.
- If you are interested in learning how to lip read, then you must have good eyesight. If you have problems with your vision, you won’t see the gestures, cues and lip movement clearly.
- You can’t lip read in darkness or poor lighting.
- If the person is speaking in their mother tongue, they will be easier to understand, than if they are speaking a foreign language.
- There are word shapes that are similar and knowing, which will make it easier to decipher the words. If you don’t know them, understanding the words will prove impossible.
- You must also take into account facial cues.
The more you lip read, the more it becomes second nature. Your skill improves and it is easier to understand what someone says, without hearing their voice.
Benefits of Lip Reading
Because your communication skills improve when you learn lip reading, many people express that it is like launching into a new world. Your confidence gets better and you find that you interact and become less socially awkward.
If you have a hearing impairment, this is an essential skill. Because hearing loss makes you withdraw. It also causes you to become more frustrated and isolated. But with learning reading lips, that might not be the case. You won’t miss what is being said and your self-esteem can improve as a result.
If you have a loved one or friend that has hearing loss, encourage them to learn how to read lips. You could even do some of the lip reading lessons with them. Give them as much support as possible.
But, if you learn the art of lip reading, you can also empathize with their situation. Not to mention, it is a great skill to have.
You have a keener insight into the art of communication.
If you are a student, who sit in long lecture sessions, at a far distance from the professor, lip reading could help you. As time progresses, you will catch more of what the teacher is saying. The same applies if you are in parties, conferences and business meetings.
Why Should You Learn to Lip Read?
For someone who wears a hearing aid or is steadily losing their hearing, learning lip reading helps you to regain control of your life. You gain confidence. You become less isolated.
You interact with people more because you can understand what is being said.
You stop focusing inward on what you cannot do and start focusing outward on what is going on around you. Social situations will become less awkward and you will find that people might stop treating you as if you have a thin skin. They will start to treat you like everyone else.
When you learn lip reading, it helps to maintain a connection to your family and friends because you can still communicate with them, regardless of not being able to hear.