Hearing loss can be caused by illness, genetics, drugs, exposure to drugs, head injury, tumours or the ageing process, to name a few. If you have experienced any degree of hearing loss, there are many tools designed to help you communicate, including hearing aids and the practice of "speech reading." Speech reading, also known as "lip reading," is the act of watching a person's moving lips and facial expressions to determine and interpret the words he is saying. Speech reading is an important skill to develop, and there are activities that can help.
Other People Are Reading
Partner Paragraph Reading
This activity involves two people who eventually switch roles throughout the activity. First, one person is given an index card or sheet of paper with a paragraph on it. The person with the paragraph then reads it aloud as her partner sits directly in front of her. The partner must pay special attention to the reader's mouth movements as she reads. Once the reader has finished, the partner writes down as many key points as she can remember about the reader's paragraph, including the main idea, any remembered sentences, and the interpretation of facial expressions. Once this is complete, the reader shares her paragraph and the partner shares her notes to compare them. The reader revisits the paragraph as the partner reads along and watches her lips. Both partners discuss the accuracy of the writer's interpretation of the paragraph and the reader's facial expressions.
Vowel Sound Practice
To do this activity, you must first write down about 20 to 30 words that begin with vowels. Then, practice forming these words on your own and in front of the mirror. Take note of the differences in movement for different vowels as they are used in different words. For example, "a" as in "apple" is formed with the lips positioned and moving differently than "a" as in "ate."
This activity requires that you partner with someone who is not hearing-impaired. First, observe a real-life or rehearsed conversation on a popular television show and make note of the setting and the tone of the characters: angry, happy, sad, and so on. With a sheet of paper, write down as many key points about the conversation as possible. including words, phrases, non-verbal gestures and body language, and facial expressions. All of these observations are important for interpreting what is being said.
You can do mirror practice alone or with a partner. The objective is for each person to observe the movements of his mouth and facial expressions when forming certain words. First, either write a list of words to focus on or gather material such as books or magazines with words and sentences. Then, read the words while looking in the mirror. Take note of the movement your mouth makes when forming each syllable.
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