Lipreading means watching the movement of the lips, jaw and tongue to discern what sounds and words are being spoken. As only about 40% of spoken language appears on the lips, this does not provide much to go on. Speechreading is a more correct term to use.

Speechreading involves understanding a person through a look and listen technique. The speechreader sees visible movement and sometimes hears at least part of the message. This visible movement is not only lip, tongue and jaw movement. It is facial and eye expressions, body language, the context of communication, and whatever sounds one hears. All possible cues are utilized to assist in speechreading, including sight, amplified sound, and educated guessing. The speechreader is alert and picks up on everything.

You can train yourself to follow these cues. Understanding more about the dynamics of what is going on relative to hearing and speech is a great first start. 

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association currently offers 4 speechreading programs (Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 in person, and Read Our Lips, an online course). Please visit our Learn to Lipread and Coping Skills pages to learn more.


Sign language is another communication tool used by people with hearing loss (typically by people who identify as Deaf) and have family or friends in their life that also know sign language to communicate with them. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association- NL does not offer sign language classes as our mandate is to serve those with hearing loss who are oral communicators which is why we teach speechreading classes instead of sign language. If you are interested in Sign Language, the Newfoundland Association of the Deaf is an excellent resource.

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