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      Lipreading and speech

      If you have hearing loss and prefer to communicate through lipreading and speech, you may find a lipspeaker can help you to lipread.

      How does a lipspeaker help?

      A lipspeaker can make it easier for people with hearing loss to lipread by:

      • Silently repeating what a speaker says, producing the shape of the words clearly with facial expressions to show meaning.
      • Cutting down fast speech (many people speak at speeds of up to 200 words a minute), without losing the meaning of what the speaker is saying.
      • Sometimes using their voice as well, to support people who use a combination of listening and lipreading.
      • Fingerspelling words that are difficult to lipread.

      Additionally, if somebody has difficulty understanding a person with hearing loss, the lipspeaker might be able to relay what that person is saying.

      When is a lipspeaker helpful?

      Lipspeakers can help in a variety of situations, such as:

      • workshops or conferences
      • work meetings
      • job interviews
      • training courses
      • university or college lectures or seminars
      • medical consultations parent/teacher meetings
      • meetings with bank managers or local government officials
      • police interviews, meetings with solicitors, or court or tribunal hearings.

      What type of lipspeaker should I use?

      There are two levels of lipspeaker:

      • registered lipspeaker
      • trainee lipspeaker.

      The agency or freelance professional you book with will advise which registration level of lipspeaker is suitable for your assignment. There are some situations where you should only use a registered lipspeaker, such as legal assignments and meetings with solicitors, social services and mental health workers.

      You can check that the lipspeaker you book is registered with The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD), the body which is responsible for monitoring and development of professional standards.

      How do I book a lipspeaker?

      There are fewer than 50 registered lipspeakers in the country, so book ahead - at least four to six weeks before you need one. Remember, lipspeaking is tiring, so lipspeakers should have a break about every 30 minutes. For that reason, if your assignment is likely to be more than two hours long, you should book two lipspeakers.

      Find out more about booking a lipspeaker in our section Communication support. For more information about working with a lipspeaker, see our factsheet Working with a lipspeaker


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