Can you read lips?

All hard of hearing and deaf people learn to read lips. Or more accurately, we learn to take advantage of any and all visual cues to understand what we’re hearing. When I was in high school I had speech reading lessons once a week. A Teacher of the Deaf came to my school. She gave me a list of one syllable words that all had the same core sound. I remember ‘Ah as in father’ was one of the first ones. Then she would silently mouth a sentence that used one of those words. I didn’t have to tell her the whole sentence, I only had to guess which word I saw. As time went on I was getting the whole sentence almost half the time. She could always tell when I did because my face would light up with comprehension.

I just came across this as part of the HLAA newsletter yesterday:

Volunteers are needed to test run a new audiovisual speech perception training program called ReadMyQuips. In the program, the noise in the audio portion is varied adaptively depending on the person’s answer. The sentences are quips taken from people as varied as Winston Churchill and Groucho Marx. Using a crossword puzzle format, the subject simply fills in the answers in the designated boxes. In the trial run, the intent is to identify and correct any software bugs that may still be remaining.

Prospective users can download a trial version at:
http://www.sensesynergy.com/

The only thing asked of people taking the trial run is that they report any problems with the software, and submit a brief survey (included in the program) telling the company he or she thinks.

I’ve never seen a self-study lip-reading program before, though I’m sure there was something on DVD somewhere. This one seems great though. And free to try out. With the CIs I work more on trying to listen without visual cues, but this program gives you a lot of flexibility in how you use it. You can control the amount of noise added to the speech in the video, or turn the sound of entirely. To not have visual cues, just close your eyes and only listen.

I may end up concluding that the quips give too much help and aren’t random enough to really trip up a linguistically-adept brain… but it’s still good practice.

2 Comments

  1. MM
    Jan 13, 2011

    I think lip(Speech)-reading has to have a high element of ‘on the street’ training, you can only learn so much in a classroom, you have to be outside to hone any effectiveness or confine yourself to many closed situations. I don’t know the American system, there is very little practical training in the UK with real people who WON’T stand directly in front of you and mouth perfectly. Class SIZE is also important, 1 teacher 10-15 pupils, 2 hours, once a week, is not going to be very effective, there’s a huge drop-out rate here. Can you learn ANYTHING from a DVD ? speech-reading must be nigh impossible that way. Again it’s artificial situations and ‘perfect’ guided situations, unrealistic in real time on your own.

  2. Meghan
    Jan 17, 2011

    I can lipread ONLY if I can also hear what is being said. I can’t lipread with no sound, just like I can’t hear if there’s no visual support. If I try to lipread without sound, I only catch the non-important words, so I’m completely clueless as to what a person may have just said to me.
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..Earmolds =-.

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