14 people with hearing loss took part in the research, along with GPs, Audiologists, ENT consultants and sensory support teams.
The findings show that participants benefit from learning to lipread, not only in terms of improving their ability to communicate with others, but also in learning how to cope with their hearing loss, meeting other people who share their experience, building confidence, and keeping abreast of developments in technology and research, benefits and other sources of support.
In relation to healthcare professionals, 90% of GPs said they would refer patients to lipreading classes, but were unaware of any in their areas. All ENT Consultants and Sensory Support teams which responded felt that learning to lipread would be of benefit to people with acquired hearing loss.
At the time of this research In 2011, there were 4 fully qualified lipreading teachers in Northern Ireland, offering short term classes in each Health and Social Care Trust area. One class was funded on an ongoing basis by the local Hard of Hearing Club.
This report was used as evidence in our campaign to increase the number of lipreading teachers in Northern Ireland and to improve access to classes as early as possible in the rehabilitation journey. Successful lobbying led to the Health and Social Care Board facilitating the training of an additional 12 teachers in Northern Ireland.