The Limits of Lip Reading

Most of us think of deafness as just not being able to hear things, but there is a huge spectrum of hearing deficits from high pitched to the very low, often the result of prolonged exposure to industrial noise or rock music- I know of a dentist who struggles to hear women’s voices. Must be fun for his wife.  Pete Townsend suffers hearing loss – I thought it was due to playing music too loud, but his head was in the way of Keith Moon’s drums when he set off an explosion in them. As you do. But because such people can hear other sounds, it often makes life complicated for them.

Here’s an anecdote from a couple, the man is profoundly deaf but is proficient in lipreading. They had friends around and ordered a Chinese takeaway, but the delivery was incomplete so they had to re-order and the man went downstairs when it arrived. Time passed, then his wife heard raised voices so went down to investigate. Her husband was upset because he thought the delivery person was demanding £4.83, so he kept saying ‘we’ve already paid.’ The delivery person was explaining ‘the prawn crackers are free’.

The image is of Sir Joshua Reynolds who became deaf

4 thoughts on “The Limits of Lip Reading

  1. I have severe tinnitus, due to a perforated eardrum and some other internal scarring, gained by scuba diving too deep, many years ago.
    The resulting tinnitus is a continuous high pitched ‘whistle’ that not only makes it difficult to hear when people are talking to me (especially on the telephone), but also seems to cause audio overload if I’m in a group of people all chatting at the same time.
    I avoid groups of chatting people (e.g., Blog Bashs), cinemas, theatres, radios, television and anywhere that echoes.
    Forget operations or hearing aids – they don’t help.
    I love blogging though, and it helps me socialise by writing (typing)


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