Using Lipreading To Help With Hearing Loss

Interview with profoundly deaf lipreading teacher Lisa Cox

I’m Lisa Cox and I have had profound hearing loss in both ears since I was a child.  When I use lipreading along with my remaining hearing I can follow conversations really well. 

I felt so passionately about the benefits of lipreading in managing hearing loss that I trained as a lipreading and managing hearing loss teacher with ATLA (the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults).  I now teach a variety of lipreading and managing hearing loss classes in Bexley, Orpington and central London.

Anyone with a hearing aid will know that hearing aids are exactly that – an aid not a miracle cure.  Even the best hearing aids can amplify background noise as well as conversation, can make strange noises and can make things louder but not necessarily clearer. To get the very best out of them we need to use some other strategies to help us.

Finding strategies which can help

Treating hearing loss is an holistic process.  It involves getting, wearing and maintaining the best hearing aids. But it also involves using strategies to maximise the amount you can hear (such as knowing which seat is best for hearing in a restaurant), using equipment to help you hear things you may miss (such as a vibrating smoke detector) and maximising your ability to lipread.  We all lipread to some extent – our eyes help our ears fill in the bits our ears miss. 

Your audiologist will provide and maintain your hearing aids but a lipreading teacher can help you with all other aspects of managing your hearing loss.  In lipreading classes you will learn strategies to cope in a variety of situations and about equipment and services to help you enjoy doing the things you love and, of course, you will strengthening your lipreading skills.

My five top tips

There are countless strategies that are taught in lipreading classes but here are my personal top five:

  1. Don’t keep your hearing loss secret – let others know exactly how they can help you
  2. In noisy places sit with your back to a wall or corner
  3. Make sure the speaker has  good light on their face – but never behind them because it shadows their lips
  4. Round tables are usually best in a restaurant – don’t be afraid to ask to move
  5. Ask others to speak naturally but slow down slightly.  Ask them not to shout – shouting distorts their lips

Lipreading classes are fun

Lipreading classes are a lot of fun. It’s not like going back to school!  It’s a place where you can relax and have fun without worrying about needing to hear.  As well as helping you improve your lipreading, classes can help you become more confident in explaining your hearing loss to others and they are a great place to meet others in the same boat.

If you’d like to know more about my classes then please contact me on lisalipreading@gmail.com or you can find your most local class by visiting ATLAlipreading.org.uk