Who’s the best lipreader of all?

28 02 2015


Lipreading has become a rather commercial activity in the last few years. I’ve been asked to lipread celebrities at royal weddings, the Royals at royal weddings, babies and parents at royal christenings, criminals, sports people, and even the unsuspecting public.

I was born deaf and I have always been a lipreader. I am now totally deaf with 2 cochlear implants, yet I retain my lipreading skills. I am able to lipread most people I meet, lipread sideways, and even fool a lot of people into thinking I am a hearing person. I believe lipreading is not a science, it is an art. An art I have honed over many years, in many situations, in many different countries with various accents. My life experience of travelling around the world and “getting on with it” has served to make me a better lipreader. I can even lipread in Spanish, Japanese and Arabic.

There are days when my brain just “won’t compute” – I can be too tired for lipreading and the mental exercise inherent within, or my brain might just say “no”, or I may mentally get stuck and see a phrase which I know is not correct from the context of the language.

Forensic lipreading is even harder, as there is no sound at all, and often the screen view is very small. You are watching video footage over and over and over, sometimes a hundred times over, for perhaps a five second segment of footage, just to get that one word so that the whole sentence makes sense. You really can’t do this with a foreign language that you do not know.

Sometimes people tell me they are the best lipreader in the world. How do you think they are able to make that claim? Don’t you think it’s a bit presumptuous?

I’d love to hear what you think, please comment!

A bar for deaf people opens in London!

29 05 2013

A bar for deaf people has opened in London!

The bar staff are deaf and can sign, there is a deaf security guard, a hard of hearing DJ, there are bright lights at the bar with pens & paper, the fire alarm has a flashing light, the signs are in BSL & English.

Salsa, zumba, and DJ workshops are planned where deaf people can be taught to read beats and play instruments.

What’s the bet they’ll even have subtitles on their TV and allow entry to Hearing Dogs?

The Deaf Lounge, Seven Sisters, London UK. Let’s start an international trend here. Who’s coming for a drink? :)

News source: New bar for the deaf where you order drinks in sign language

ABI – Auditory Brainstem Implants

7 05 2012

A query came in from a reader –

Auditory brainstem implants is finally going to become a reality for me,  I’m on the urgent list for another MRI. The ABI surgeon is currently being registered under a neurosurgeon for the procedure later in the month.  I don’t have NFII but have had meningitis and 3 failed CI’s within 6 months post implantation, I would be interested to know if there is anyone that is also in the NT (Non-Tumour) group who wouldn’t mind sharing their experience, the journey, then the ABI and a whole new and difficult beginning all over again.  How successful is it for them etc and if they wanted to share about the surgery and activation, how many days re-admission to hospital did it require, did they require a further aesthetic pre-activation, such as the children have? CJ

Please post or link to ABI users if they can advise…. thank you.

CJ, you could check out the following;

House Research

Calum’s ABI

Amazing Amelia



Facegroup group – ABI Technology

The Auditory Brainstem Implant: One Child’s Success Story

From Us To You

1 05 2012

Do you remember how hard it was when you were younger and deaf? Before you found your way in life? Before you became successful?

Or are you young and deaf, and you’re wondering how you can be successful, but don’t know if this is possible.

Check out Ted Evan’s wonderful film which looks at deaf role models. It’s very well done indeed. Very thoughtful. Very moving. It’s film-making at its best. Nadia is a superstar. Larry actually made me choke up and …. um…. cry 🙂

Watch the film and find out why …. and tell us about your role models.

My Big Fat Georgeous Wedding

8 12 2011

Please vote for Janette and Ally to win this competition, so Janette can have her dream wedding dress! I read their story on Facebook and I’m reproducing it here. This competition will work on a like/comment basis – only one comment and like per person will count (each voter has 2 votes, 1 vote awarded for a “like” and another vote awarded for a comment). The competition is sponsored by My Big Fat Georgwous Wedding. I can’t see a closing date, so get your votes in quick!

Link to vote for Janette and Ally on Facebook (log into your Facebook account first)

We have been together 9+ years. I had unhappy life before I met my partner Ally, I was so happy and alive since I met him, we both are profoundly deaf I use british sign language and so does Ally but he can lipread and has good speech. a year later, I went downhill after hospital diagnosed me with ushers syndrome and Retintis Pigmentosa means it will leads me to blind,I can’t drive at all, I have got tunnel vision, no perperial vision at all,I have stopped going out and do things I liked, because I was scared if I couldn’t see/hear cars coming, small children running about, I had couple of accidents that made me stop going out, I never went out for couple of years till Guide dogs came see me with cane training I did not like it and still would not go out, but I was given a guide dog called Vogue labrador x golden retriever, she was smartest dog ever I owned, she is very obedience. Since I got Vogue, my confident  slowly building up, I have made some new friends. I used to hate do shopping, traveling on buses/trains but I do LOVE traveling now and enjoy my independence Vogue has helped me to take my daughters to school, Ally does a lot of cooking, making hot drinks as I feel cooking is not very safe as I tend to get burnt often due to my poor condition of eyes, I can’t work, I find it hard to find a job because I am deaf & blind Ally and Vogue always be here for me whenever I feel down or having a bad day, they always cheer me up. Ally means everything to me, I am very proud to be a guide dog owner so I can enjoy couple of wines so Ally can drive me home 🙂


– What a lovely family they make! 🙂

Envoy Esteem hearing implant

1 10 2011

Envoy’s Esteem implant is not a hearing aid. It’s an implant for people with a hearing loss and a working cochlea and middle ear, who wish to have an invisible device which allows them to hear quite naturally. The battery is replaced every 5 years or so. The implant has two leads which extend into the middle ear and sense sound vibrations, and sends energy to the cochlea which is then translated into sound.


A video was posted online on Monday from Sarah Churman, a 29 year old  from Texas, who hears her voice for the first time with an Envoy Esteem implant. She is currently being flown to New York and will appear on NBC Today on Monday morning. Envoy Medical will be implanting Sarah’s second Esteem for free!

Captioned video : How the Esteem works.

You can read another Esteem Envoy recipient’s story here.

Envoy Medical

My Song

12 06 2011

This film demonstrates how I felt growing up, with no one understanding my communication needs. I was given a FM radio system for school and told to get on with it. My social needs were totally disregarded. I know too well, the farce of pretending to understand what’s being said, then being told by my family ‘You can hear perfectly well when you want to’. Being unable to sign, I wasn’t part of a deaf culture either – heck, I didn’t even KNOW such a thing as a deaf culture existed. When I first got to know other deaf people, through Friends for Young Deaf People, the other young deaf people told me that I’m not deaf as I didn’t sign (oh, the irony!).  I just felt so stuck between the deaf and the hearing.  It’s bad enough when hearing people don’t understand and won’t meet you halfway, but when deaf people won’t meet you halfway either, that’s a real kick in the teeth. Deaf people who won’t accept you as a deaf person and deaf people who say you shouldn’t be using sign language – both are reprehensible. We’re all entitled to acceptance and to communicate in our chosen way.

Now that I can sign (not fluent though), lipread and hear, I can live my own life in my own way. I have great friends from both cultures – who can hear, lipread, and sign – and I wouldn’t change this for anything.

Thanks to Billy and Charlie for giving us another blinder!