It is not unusual for people who benefit from hearing aids to experience some degree of difficulty communicating in social situations. It is quite easy for anyone to miss a word, a phrase, or even an entire exchange when surrounded by the challenges and daily distractions that we are faced with in our environment. These distractions exist all around us from the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant, the constant murmur of a crowded dinner party, or even when exposed to a blaring television. But living in our fast-paced, challenging world should not be the reason that causes someone to miss out on the important, meaningful, moments in life.
Lip reading, also known as speech reading, is the ability to take what is observed in the movement of a speaker’s lips, along with accompanying facial expressions and body language, to gain an enhanced understanding of a verbal communication. Lip reading can often supplement speech understanding while using prior knowledge to fill in the gaps of the message being communicated. This powerful combination of visual and body cues serves to provide the greatest chance for success, and increases one’s confidence in their ability to communicate.
To best take advantage of this approach, it is important to first get the attention of the person you are trying to speak with before the conversation begins. You will want to make certain you are directly facing the other person, and then to maintain a clear line of sight of the expressions and gestures you’ll want to be taking in. Ideally, it would be desirable to avoid situations involving noisy backgrounds; however, this can’t always be the case. In such situations, it is best to remain patient and keep your responses slow. In addition, it helps if both parties do their best to speak clearly and with distinction, keeping hands away from your face while speaking to enhance communication. It is also possible for you to further boost your communications efforts by being your own advocate, and informing your friends and family of your difficulties.
Most people already have some lip-reading skills and don’t even realize it. However, lip reading can always be an integral part of an effective communication strategy, and can provide listeners with improved confidence, active involvement, and enhanced connections with others.
To obtain additional information, please reach out to an ACA office located near you!