How To Improve Your Lipreading Skills Online

Living with hearing loss, I have always wanted to take a lipreading course, but was never able to find one in New York City that worked with my schedule. So when I learned about a new online tutorial created by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL), I was excited to give it a go. Read My Lips is a self-paced online course that uses videos, exercises, and quizzes to demonstrate and teach basic lipreading skills.

I consider myself a good lipreader, but most of my knowledge has come intuitively, driven by necessity. Taking the Read My Lips classes helped me gain a firmer understanding of the basic lip, tongue and jaw movements involved in many letter sounds. Knowing the mechanics of how the sounds are made can only improve my skills. I am glad I took the course.

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Hearing Loss & Thanksgiving: A Recipe for Success

Thanksgiving is a time to join with family and friends to express gratitude for the many joys in our lives. For people with hearing loss, it can also often be fraught with anxiety. Will we be able to follow the dinner conversation and partake in the merriment? Will we be exhausted from all the listening fatigue? Will we remain a relevant and important part of the family dynamic?

My family usually heads out of town for Thanksgiving, but this year we are hosting! Sleeping all eight of us in a Manhattan apartment will make for tight quarters, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I have ceded control of the cooking to my mother-in-law, so my focus will be on setting the table, arranging the seating, and creating the perfect hearing friendly atmosphere — a great role for someone with hearing loss.

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When “You Seem To Hear Just Fine” Felt Like an Insult

It was the annual celebration dinner for a community group where I volunteer. People wore their finest attire and mingled in the beautiful space, chatting ahead of the awards dinner. The sound was deafening, but I did my best to hear and partake in a variety of conversations using my surviving a cocktail party with hearing loss tips.

Finding my spot at my assigned table, I introduced myself to my seat mates. Luckily the majority had strong voices in the right decibel range for me to hear; and they were easy to lipread. The conversation flowed, bouncing from topic to topic, before my hearing loss and related advocacy work came up. Yes, I try to slip it into every conversation — that is what advocates do.

Their response: “But, you seem to hear just fine.” Part of me was happy that I was conversing so successfully — those lipreading skills do come in handy — but part of me felt almost slighted. Truth be told, this duck was paddling furiously under the water.

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How To Combat The Stigma of Hearing Loss

Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” It often arises from external forces like prejudices, stereotypes or societal norms, but it can also come from inside ourselves — perhaps as we internalize the negative perceptions of others or suffer from a generalized fear of being different from the norm.

Stigma surrounding hearing loss can make us afraid to admit that we have trouble hearing. The shame and embarrassment of stigma drives us to behave in unproductive and unhealthy ways, like neglecting to ask friends and family to use communication best practices or refusing to seek out the professional assistance we need. It may lead us to avoid socializing or prevent us from applying for a deserved promotion. Over time, these behaviors can lead to isolation, depression, and a plethora of health problems.

We must nip hearing loss stigma in the bud. But how?

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Being A Mother With Hearing Loss Has Its Challenges

I enjoy sharing my hearing loss adventures in mainstream media publications. Not only does it helps raise awareness about hearing loss to a broader audience, it chips away at the stigma surrounding hearing loss. In each piece, I aim to share valuable communication tips or other helpful hints to educate the public about ways they can be more hearing loss friendly. My latest article was recently featured on NYMetroParents

Please show your support for these initiatives by visiting the original article here

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