Lipreading is an essential life skill therefore why should classes be so expensive?

9 06 2008

As you become deaf, you become isolated in a world of silence where you are ignored by the hearing majority and unable to communicate with them. Without alternative life skills including lip-reading, you eventually withdraw from society. A thirty week lip-reading course in Essex now costs £186. This has caused most courses to close, remaining courses to be under-subscribed and a large number of deaf people to be cast out into an uncaring world without the ability to communicate with others.

A petition has been set up, to recognise that lip-reading is an essential life-skill for the deaf and hard of hearing and therefore that adult education lip-reading courses should be funded in the same way as other life skills.

Sign the petition HERE

Deadline : 12 September 2008




10 responses

9 06 2008

I’ll sign. (The petition that is !). It is not a fee, it’s a TAX on our communication, and an attack on our access to the outside world. It is criminal to charge the deaf to benefit from this help. Sign language carries a fee in the UK because only HEARING use the classes, that’s fair enough, but to charge the deaf to learn lip-reading after losing their hearing is cruel and inhumane, and little short of a deliberate policy to isolate us. We’ve been the poor relations of communication access long enough…

9 06 2008

Lipreading is very ineffective as a communication skill… about 60 percent (if not more) of spoken statements are misunderstood because too many lip shapes look the same, like “B” and “P”. I’ve often had to resort to writing to clarify communication with people who don’t sign.

9 06 2008

Moebius – I have to disagree with you there. How can you say lipreading is very ineffective as a communication skill? I think it’s ineffective for you because it’s not a skill you possess. Lipreading is a skill I totally RELY on – if I wasn’t able to lipread then I would have zero understanding of people around me as my word discrimination score is zero in hearing tests. I use context, rhythm, environmental clues, a knowledge of what is likely to be said (typical phrases), recognition of confusions such as homophenes and homophones, facial expressions, gestures, to extract the meaning of speech when lip shapes are similar. I learned these skills in lipreading classes and by constant practice. Ineffective? Not at all.

9 06 2008

I grew up lipreading. It wasn’t until after I graduated college that my husband started to check me to see what I understood from people. Holy cow!! Now I tell people I don’t lipread and have them write it down. I disagree with this post. Just because someone can’t hear and/or lipread, that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate! It might be useful for some, but I’ve gotten along fine without it.

9 06 2008

I totally rely on lipreading, and score something like 94% speech reading alone, so yes – it’s an absolute necessity and totally effective.

Terirble they’re charging you so much for coursses 😦


10 06 2008
Aaron R.

Because of Cued Speech I have good lipreading skills. Since CS is a combination of lip-reading and hand cues, spoken language is 100% accessible through cueing.

Perhaps you could look into CS at

If a deaf individual is surrounded by people who cue, lip-reading will come more naturally to that person while having clear communication.

10 06 2008
aye indeed

both of my ears are at over 100dB and I dont even use a hearing aid, I rely on lipreading 100% when it comes to communicating with hearing people, however I would be somewhat hardpressed to beleive that it can actually be learned from scratch to fluently in just 30 weeks

10 06 2008

Anonymous – the point was that lipreading is a “life skill” and not a “language skill” (and therefore chargeable), it has now been re-classified as a language skill and that’s why fees have gone up so much. I’d rather not spend my life have people write notes to me – I wouldn’t get very far in business if I couldn’t lipread.

Robyn – When you’ve learned to lipread, it makes communication with hearing people so much easier.

Aaron – Thanks for the tip. I haven’t met anyone who knows cued speech, but it looks interesting.

Aye indeed – Lipreading can’t be learned in 30 weeks. It’s like drawing, it’s a skill that is learned and some people become very good at it, a few don’t. It’s an imprecise art, therefore even someone like me, who has been lipreading for over 30 years and is a lipreading teacher, doesn’t get it right every time. What’s important is learning the basics and why some lip patterns are confused, constant practise and coping strategies when you get it wrong or aren’t sure what’s been said. This is why lipreading classes shouldn’t be classified as a language but as a life skill – it’s something you can spend your whole life improving.

10 06 2008

We who use lip-reading to various degrees of ability, find it a great help in communications, even 45% effectiveness (Which is the official LIMIT of skill in LR), I don’t know where tey get the 60% figure from ! is of immeasurable help. The issue is LR a ‘language’ is pointlessly diverse ! It’s never been claimed it is a language, it is a communication SKILL, even a bare minimum of ability can be very satisfying and of great help to us. I’ve resorted to writing things down too, and sign a bit, so what ? it is all part and parcel of communication, we are far too concerned with following what is going on, to worry ‘which is best’ or a right, ability dictates everything. If Ihad to use paper bags to communicate I would.

10 06 2008

Someone else I know online has just set up their own petition on the same subject.

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