No. On the contrary, lip-reading is an important skill for everyone to develop. Whether deaf or hearing – we all rely on lip-reading to help us understand speech and noise. The use of gestures and facial expressions are also important in everyday life for everyone, deaf and hearing. However, relying on lip-reading alone is not enough.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) website states “it is estimated that only 30% to 40% of speech sounds can be lip-read even under the best conditions and extra information is usually required to understand what is being said. So, while it can be an important skill for children with a hearing loss to have, relying on lip-reading alone will not be enough for your child to develop good communication skills.”

In Auditory Verbal therapy sessions, we work specifically through listening to strengthen the child’s “listening brain”. This means that during sessions, the Auditory Verbal therapist will support parents and caregivers with strategies and techniques that intentionally promote listening as the main route for learning spoken language. That way, a child will be able to make effective use of both listening and lip-reading in everyday life. In addition, during sessions, therapists need to assess what a deaf child can hear through their hearing technology to understand if they can access all the sounds of speech. When this is being assessed, the therapists will use strategies such as sitting next to a child rather than sitting opposite them or encouraging listening rather than drawing attention to lips.