Can you imagine getting a dollar for every time someone ask you if you can read lips? Before I answer your question, please enjoy this video that caught my attention.
The Million Dollar Question
As someone who is deaf, I can tell you that it would be awesome to get a dollar every time someone ask me that question.
People often tell me I am good at reading lips.
That would be nice to get a dollar for every time I have been told that too.
The truth is that it is not easy.
The truth about reading lips.
Now that you watched the video, let me ask you the same question.
Can you read lips?
Whether you are able to hear on your own, or using hearing aids, or simply deaf or hard of hearing to a point where you can’t hear someone’s voice, the odds are very likely that you will miss something when you read lips.
I have gotten into hot water when I misread someone saying the word, bitch.
It’s not really funny when that happens.
Why lipreading is not easy.
If you think about it for a second, you will realize humans have to learn speech if they want to talk.
This is based on the assumption that people can hear them talk.
The problem with this assumption is that not everyone who wants to communicate with you can hear.
Lipreading is really a combination of guessing and repetition. While I am capable of lipreading, there are inherent flaws using this method. The flaws varies from person to person.
- Speaker has an accent.
- Speaker does not speak clearly.
- Speaker uses multiple syllable words.
- Speaker does not stay in the lipreader’s line of sight.
- Male speaker has a moustache that covers the lipreading area.
For those who cannot hear like myself, we utilize other communication methods such as captioning, lipreading, reading/writing, sign language or other such methods.
Personally, I prefer sign language.
Why lipreading is not accessible for travel and tourism.
If you browse around my site, you will notice I am passionate about accessible and inclusive travel and tourism. Especially for the deaf and hard of hearing people.
It is a common misconception among travel and tour operators that lipreading is an acceptable method of communication.
In over 40 years of travel, I can count exactly one time where I enjoyed my experience when I had to resort to the lipreading method.
I often have to arrange for a private, one-on-one tour in order to get the same information one might get with a public tour where a sign language interpreter is not available.
For example, my favorite walking tour experience was with Alternative Athens.
The logistics issues in regards to securing an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter or an ASL tour guide in Greece is something of a challenge.
The CEO and founder, Tina took it upon herself to ensure we were able to enjoy the Delicious Athens Food Tour.
While this tour is not 100 percent accessible (Athens can be a challenging place for those with mobility conditions), it is a lovely way to spend a half day exploring a cultural aspect of Athens. We were grateful Tina extended her time so she could allow us to lipread at our own pace.
What we realized was that there were times, especially when she referenced to informantion in Greek, that we had to switch to reading and writing. For example, just to name a few of the tasty Greek foods such as pastourma and soulvaki.
Try lipreading that.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this, regardless of what communication methods you use, it is important to recognize that if your preferred method of communication fails, you can adapt to the situation and try a different method.
Share your thoughts.
If you were to do a museum tour or a group adventure tour, would you enjoy it if you were able to understand limited information due to the ineffectiveness of lipreading?