people laughing

What is the value of a Speechreading course?

The past few years of the pandemic has shown many people how much they rely on seeing the whole face while communicating. This information is not just used by people that are Deaf or hard of hearing but used by hearing individuals as well. While we may or may not be required to wear masks in the foreseeable future, people need strategies and techniques to effectively communicate with a hearing loss.

When hearing changes or declines, there can be a sense of loss associated with it. Fortunately, there are skills that can help us to adapt to this change. Speechreading (also known as lipreading) is about using all the sensory and contextual cues in the immediate environment to assist us to ‘hear’ more effectively. Of course, learning any new skill requires commitment from
ourselves, our friends, and our family.

So, why do people register for a speechreading course?

  1. To learn to understand people again; 2-3 years without a clear view of peoples’ mouths may have depleted our ability to speechread.
  2. To learn to recognize the different English speech movements and how to differentiate between them. Is this easy to learn? No, but it can be fun to learn and practice.
  3. It is another opportunity to retrain the brain.
  4. To develop effective coping skills as taught and shared by other hard of hearing people.
  5. It is empowering.
  6. To learn about standard and new technology.
  7. To reduce feelings of isolation by realizing one is NOT alone with hearing loss. Sharing our communication bloopers and sharing laughter makes us feel lighter.
  8. Communication is a two-way street. It is not “your” problem. It is something everyone around you needs to understand as it becomes “our” need to communicate more effectively together.

Let’s Talk and Let’s Talk Some More were developed by hard of hearing instructors, so these are people ‘in the know’ about the effects of hearing loss and how to speechread. Two Let’s Talk classes will be offered at IDHHC Victoria from February to March on Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings. Please see the IDHHC event calendar for registration information. If there is enough interest, Let’s Talk Some More will be offered in the spring (May – June).

Employment Success Story

Jane, (name changed to protect privacy) was unemployed, and had been looking for work for about two years. She was finding it challenging to find work due to her hearing loss and the COVID-19-related economic turndown. In her job search, Jane also faced agism and discrimination; Jane has a foreign accent and found people would evaluate her based on common stereotypes, despite her being a Canadian citizen. She didn’t have access to the internet or a mobile device due to increasing cost of living. While she was always financially prudent, she found herself subject to mandatory condo remediations, and needed to come out of retirement to find work.