What is Lipreading?

Lipreading is the skill of being able to pick up visual clues that allow us to follow speech. Visual clues include mouth movements, facial expressions, body language, gestures and (sometimes) finger spelling.

We also need to use other clues too, such as our knowledge of the topic, our knowledge of the English language and our knowledge of the speaker, who may have a particular accent. We put all these clues together to help us make sense of what the speaker is saying.

Mary Allison


A practical guide to lipreading entitled "Watch this Face" by John Chaloner Woods is published by Action on Hearing Loss. Photographs show the facial appearances that correspond with the varied sounds of everyday speech.