Speech Reading

Speech Reading

Speechreading for People with Hearing Loss

Are you struggling to communicate – even with hearing aids?

We can help. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) is pleased to offer Let’s Talk, a small group speech reading and communication strategies course that helps people with hearing loss – and their families – to communicate better!

What is Speechreading?

Most people with hearing loss use visual cues to help them understand the spoken word. Speechreading involves:

  • Watching the lip, jaw, tongue and teeth movements of the speaker.
  • Facial expressions, gestures, postures and movements which help convey speaker’s meaning.
  • Knowing the topic and context.
  • Good vision. With normal vision, it is possible to speechread up to twenty-four feet but five feet is the ideal distance from the speaker(s).
  • Emotional resilience to stay confident and committed to good communication.

Why should I take a speechreading course?

  • Increased understanding of hearing loss issues.
  • Help hearing aids and other technology do their job.
  • Develop a range of troubleshooting strategies to deal with challenging situations.
  • Share ideas with other people who have hearing loss.
  • Become a better communicator!

Speechreading helps put people with hearing loss back in the conversation. Good communication is vital to a good quality of life – CHHA’s Let’s Talk and Let’s Talk Some More speechreading and communication strategies courses offer many resources and the opportunity to socialize with others who are living a similar experience with hearing loss. Find out where your nearest Lets Talk course is being offered:

Communication Strategies:

If YOU have hearing loss:

  • Let others know how to communicate with you; be assertive about your needs.
  • Take visual clues from the speaker’s eyes, facial expressions and body language.
  • Create the best possible listening environment: well-lit, no background noise, good sightlines.
  • Anticipate your communication needs at gatherings, restaurants, etc.
  • Ask for key words or topic changes to be written down.
  • Do not bluff (pretend to understand); verify and clarify what you don’t understand.
  • Take breaks – communicating with hearing loss takes a lot of energy!

When speaking with a person who has hearing loss:

  • Get the person’s attention before starting to talk.
  • Talk directly to the person with the light on your face.
  • Keep face and mouth clear of obstructions.
  • Speak clearly, at a moderate pace, with natural enunciation.
  • Don’t shout.
  • Facial expressions and gestures should support what you’re saying.
  • Signal subject changes.
  • Rephrase comments or words if necessary.
  • Eliminate background noise.
  • Ask the person with hearing loss what would work better.


Want to help those with hearing loss in your community?

CHHA National also offers a Speechreading Instructor training course, for more information please visit the National Speechreading Program website at:

www.chha.ca/sren/ (English)

www.chha.ca/srfr/ (French)