Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to read lips...

I've mentioned in a earlier post that I was not born deaf, my parents did not notice that I had hearing loss till I was around 4 years old because I would not respond when they spoke to me while my back was turned.. That means I had at least 2-3 years of normal hearing before it started to decline (most likely triggered by a high fever of 106 that I had when 2 years of age). My earliest memory of that time, was wondering what all the fuss was, I thought I heard just fine. I had unconsciously learned to read lips to adapt to my new hearing loss and had no clue that I was doing it till later when I was older, I realized I needed to look at someones lips to understand them.

When I was about 6, I had a childhood friend at church who was 4. She and her mother and brother would sit in the pew in front of my family and we would get down under the pew and talk to each other silently, somehow that 4 year old little girl learned to read my lips so we could talk during church services! I vividly remember during one such time, her mom caught us and I saw her lurch forward with a look of pain on her face, her mom had given her a good swat lol (sorry Shannon). As we grew up, we continued to read each others lips to talk about boys in front of our moms so they would not know what we were saying, we did it at school too. It was such a handy ability :)

Years ago, I had someone tell me they wished that they could read lips too. It caused me to really think about how I learned it or how Shannon learned it as well. I came to the conclusion that we simply just watched lips. Yep, that's it, just watch people's lips when they speak and you will start to recognize how words look when they are formed by lips. For the most part, people will form their words the same way. You can practice this by saying the word "Oh", look at yourself in the mirror and see how your mouth looks while saying. Then have some family members say the word "Oh" and compare, you will most likely find everyones mouth looks almost the same while saying that word. Do it again with another word like "My", or whatever word you want, just play with it, you'll have fun learning. To become a really good lip reader, you need to always look at someones lips when they are talking with you, it will help you hone your skill.

I hope you found this helpful and insightful (please do not take this post to mean I think it's ok to talk during church services or to talk about boys behind your parents back, it's not how God would want us to use such a gift).


1 comment:

  1. Yes! I remember! I still read lips to this day. You are exactly right, Steph, "silent phonics" ;) lots of love!