Lipreading with facemasks

At Imperial Hearing we understand the difficulties of living with degrees of hearing loss. Many of us rely on lipreading to understand facial expressions and to communicate. If you are communicating with someone who relies on facial expressions or lipreading this article could offer you some helpful advice.

Thanks to lobbying of the UK government, if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lipreading or facial expressions to communicate, you are not required by law to wear a face covering.

You will not be acting illegally or face a penalty if you remove your face covering to communicate with someone who is deaf or has hearing loss and needs to see your face to communicate with you. You may want to maintain social distance while doing so.

These tips are particularly important when you are speaking to someone whilst wearing a mask or face covering:

• Make sure you are facing the person you are talking to and speak clearly – avoid shouting, speaking too fast or unnecessarily slow

• If someone does not understand you, repeat what you said or phrase it differently, use plain language

• If you are in a noisy place, move to a quieter area if possible

• Use simple gestures such as pointing or waving to get someone’s attention

• Write things down – use pen on paper, text on device screens, or whiteboards

• If they ask you to, speak to a relative or friend

Some useful resources are: