8 Helpful Tips for Lipreading

It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Or in this case, it takes two parties to have successful communication–a talker and a listener. If one of the parties is experiencing hearing loss, the seemingly simple act of communication can feel frustrating or be confusing for both sides of the conversation.

Thankfully, there are ways to improve your communication skills. Lipreading is one way of following along with a conversation. We’ve put together these tips to help.

8 Helpful Tips for Lipreading

Instead of avoiding a conversation, follow these 8 helpful tips for lipreading to get the conversation flowing again.

  1. Maximize visibility of faces. Face each other directly and take advantage of good lighting when possible. Give your brain the ability to read facial cues and lip-reading. Hold off on having serious conversations at dimly lit restaurants or concerts.
  2. Ensure your mouth is unobstructed by keeping your hands away from your face and avoiding eating, smoking, or chewing gum while in conversation. Beards and mustaches also make lip-reading a lot harder.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid speaking too fast or in an overly complicated manner. Don’t succumb to the impulse of shouting or exaggerating gestures and mouth movements, which can quickly feel offensive. If your listener hasn’t understood your message, try to find another way to phrase what you’re saying instead. Exaggerate your mouth movements when speaking to make it easier for the person to read your lips.
  4. Pay attention to lighting. Make sure that you’re in a well lit area. Poor visibility can make lip-reading far more challenging.
  5. Rephrase key information. If someone is having a hard time understanding a particular word, try using a different word or change the sentence around, so they can have different information to help them figure out what you are saying.
  6. Repeat key information. If you need to communicate essential details, such as times, address, or phone number, be sure to confirm the specifics to ensure that the listener hasn’t mistaken an “s” for an “f” and ends up on the wrong street. Better yet, write it down. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.
  7. Avoid shouting. Raising the tone of your voice won’t help with lip-reading. Keep your voice at a normal level, and remember to speak slowly and clearly.
  8. Use neutral facial expressions. Try to keep your face as neutral as possible. By avoiding overly exuberant facial expressions, it is easier to pay attention to the lips moving and follow along accordingly.

Following these tips can make communicating and having a conversation much smoother for all parties involved.

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