Bad lip reading jobs

29 03 2017

bad lip reading in chamonix

Do bad lip reading experiences exist?

I often get asked “What is forensic lip reading?”.

When a lip reader is lip reading, they are usually doing this in real life, face to face, watching a person’s lips, facial expressions, eyes, gestures, body language, and using context to clue themselves into the topic, so that they can understand another person. Many factors affect the lip readability of a person so the outcome is never a perfect translation. If enough of the factors affecting lip reading are present in a meaningful enough way, it all comes together beautifully to make sense to the skilled lip reader.

Forensic lip reading (or speech reading) is the simple transition of the skill of lip reading from real life to media, lip reading CCTV or video clips. Reading lips in 2D is much harder than reading lips in real life 3D because so many clues are missing. This makes for a bad lip reading experience for the lip reader. So many people assume, just because our lip readers can read lips, we can lip read anything you send us. We get so many videos that are #FAILs when we see them. So how can we make this a better experience for the lip reader?


How accurate is AI lip reading? A deaf perspective

22 03 2017

lip reading lips

How accurate is lip reading – AI vs. Professionals

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are again making a big splash in the news. This time with AI sinking its virtual teeth into lip reading. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK in collaboration with Google’s Deepmind has developed a system they claim can lip read more accurately than humans.

Lip reading has been one of the most prominent areas of research for the past decade. The main focus having been on overcoming the shortcomings in audio recognition in noisy environments.

Most recently, however, the focus is firmly planted on speech recognition algorithms and how such systems could help people who are deaf or hard of hearing have better access to television through accurate real-time subtitling.

I won’t lie to you when I first saw the news title ‘AI has beaten humans at lip reading’. I had to choke back a laugh.


Phone call #7

25 08 2010

We decided to do….. NUMBERS! Well, we didn’t decide … I was pushed! Here’s feedback from the ever helpful Michele;

Hiya Tina as expected I thought you would have trouble with the numbers it was also difficult for me – BUT still you did better than me when I started, so take heart!

You heard the numbers spoken but trying to remember them is another issue altogether, particularly long telephone numbers. This is because you will need to work on your auditory memory, which has not been in much use (if at all).

If I had lipread those numbers to you, you would likely have remembered them in sequence, but because you are using voice only and no lipreading, information is coming in via another pathway into your brain….so another session of work for you to work on.

Later (much later) we can do short recipes in sequence (important to get sequence right!) which was also difficult for me. I could remember it if it was lipread to me, but with no lipreading I was totally flummoxed, can’t crack the eggs last can we????…gotta go in sequence or you’ll mess the cake!! Lol!!

Telephone numbers within a sentence – you will hear the numbers but you may have difficulty recalling them in sequence (particularly if the number is longer)….this was the hardest part of my rehabilitation!

In the end I just read out the numbers only… you got the first bit right or the last bits right but not altogether. But its damn good for first attempt!

Michele had called me on the landline first, the line was crackly and her voice wasn’t loud enough for me to catch it. We switched over to the mobile and that was much clearer and louder. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the call  as I just couldn’t remember all the numbers. I could hear them fine, but repeating them back was so tricky!

Multi-lingual lip reading computers

31 07 2009

New lip-reading computers can ‘speak’ everything from English and Arabic to Cantonese and Italian.

The technology, developed by scientists at the University of East Anglia, was developed by modelling the lip movements of 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers. They reckon it could bring huge benefits to deaf people, to law enforcement agencies and those operating in noisy environments.

Professor Stephen Cox, who led the research, said it had confirmed long held beliefs about lip movement and language. He said: “This is an exciting advance in automatic lip reading technology and the first scientific confirmation of something we already intuitively suspected – that when people speak different languages they use different mouth shapes in different sequences. For example, we found frequent ‘lip-rounding’ among French speakers and more prominent tongue movements among Arabic speakers.” The ground-breaking research was presented at a major conference in Taiwan in April.

(Hell, I could’ve told them that!)

Source: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
This was also reported by BBC News.

Government response to lipreading petition

22 11 2008

The UK government received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister 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.”

Details of Petition:

“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.”

The government’s response –

The Government recognises that lip reading is an important skill for some people with hearing impairment and recognises that many people wanting to take up lip reading courses face barriers, both physical and financial in accessing learning. Full fee remission is provided to learners on Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funded Further Education (FE) courses where they are in receipt of income based benefits. In addition to this some FE colleges and providers can use their discretion to waive fees. They may choose to do so where a learner is undertaking a lip-reading course and has declared themselves as having a learning difficulty and / or disabilities; for example where a learner is hearing impaired.

In 2004/05 (the latest date for which figures are available), 81% of FE funded lip reading learners paid no fee due either to national policy or by having their fees waived at the discretion of the college or other provider.

Some very basic, introductory level lip reading courses may be offered informally outside of the LSC FE funding structure as part of family learning courses or personal and community development learning. In these cases the cost of learning will be a local decision.

Skills for Life (the Government’s adult basic skills strategy) covers literacy, numeracy and language (ESOL) learning up to Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE A – C grades). Literacy and numeracy learning is free of charge to all adults (people aged 16+) with literacy/numeracy skills below Level 2.

The Government has considered whether lip reading should be classified as a “Basic Skill” and therefore part of the Skills for Life strategy, but concluded that lip reading should not be classified as basic skills due to a number of points:

· Substantial numbers of people who do not themselves have hearing impairments undertake lip reading and especially signing courses for a variety of reasons (for example, carers seeking employment), or for general interest;

· The Government has defined “Basic Skills” in terms of national standards of literacy and numeracy, and lip reading/signing courses are not linked to these standards;

. “Basic Skills” can reasonably be regarded as those that virtually the whole population should possess. While lip reading may be valuable, and even essential for some learners, it is not a skill that all people might be expected to possess; and

It has not been considered reasonable to reclassify lip reading courses without including other communication skills, which form a significant volume of provision.

My response

I’m most annoyed. They have misunderstood the petition and don’t seem to realise that lipreading is a NECESSITY for most deaf and hard of hearing people, ergo it is a basic life skill for this large group of people, almost 1 in 7 of the UK population. If hearing people want to learn lipreading as well, well that’s up to them (I have never come across any hearing students when teaching my lipreading classses), but does not take away from the fact that for most deaf people, lipreading is a basic life skill. By this government’s reasoning, I agree that lipreading does not fit into their Skills for Life strategy. I do however, think that their Skills for Life strategy needs a rethink.

Eye see

25 01 2008


I was well overdue for an eye test. By about 4 years. I went to a Specsavers branch near work, and I was concerned how they would cope with a deaf client. I had walked in last week to make an appointment, and was told ‘Sorry, we don’t allow pets’ – I replied that he’s not a pet, he’s a Hearing Dog. They were ok with that. Today, I was asked to take a glaucoma (tonometry test) which I hate, hate, hate! A non-contact tonometer puffs air through the eye and measures the level of pressure within the eye. Very uncomfortable, and I was shaking afterwards. Then I was asked to mumble….mumble…. ‘Hang on’, I said, ‘I need to lip read you so I will have to see your face’. Oh. Once THAT had registered, the optometrist moved and faced me so I could see her speak. From then on, it was all plain sailing.

She tested my vision using various wall charts, and then checked the health of my eyes. Thankfully my eyes are ok. At one point, she said ‘so you can lip read me?’ – as it was dark in the room and I was following what she was saying. I explained that I can only hear vowels and not consonants, and a great help to lip reading or guesswork is knowing the context of speech. As I’ve had eye tests before, I know what to expect and can guess what will be said – ‘look up’, ‘look down’ etc – so I didn’t have too much of a problem with following her speech in the dark. She switched the lights back on for normal conversation and spoke clearly so it was fairly stress-free communication. Great stuff!