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Blog: Upside down lipreading

By John Newton, Hearing Link volunteer

I am surprised that visits to the dentist do not feature more in hearing loss stories.

For me it has always been the most challenging encounter and not because of fear of the drill or needle, I cope reasonably well with those, but because of the communication problem.

Like most who use any sort of hearing aid, I cope by a combination of lipreading and hearing. I find lipreading is very difficult when I am upright even after I have persuaded my dentist to remove their mask.

It has recently caused me intense embarrassment when at my local practice I encountered a practitioner who spoke in an accent that I found unfamiliar.

His dental skills were not in question, mostly I really didn’t feel a thing. But when some discussion was needed to determine the course of treatment, I found I couldn’t understand a word, even the right way up. I was forced to explain my problem to the reception desk and ask to see another dentist who I could communicate more easily with.

I felt terrible because I feared that my request to see another dentist would be interpreted the wrong way and I had put off making this request over a number of visits for that reason alone. Luckily, I don’t think my gnashers had so far suffered any detriment from the difficulty of communication.

The new guy proved a chatty sort who spoke very quickly (I think dentists become habituated to doing everything quickly). Once I had persuaded him to slow down a bit and conduct the necessary discussion before I was lowered to the horizontal position I had no difficulty.  I hope my smile now reflects that!

I wonder how other scope with their dentists and upside-down lip reading?

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Hearing Link Services or Hearing Dogs for Deaf People unless explicitly stated.

John Newton

John NewtonJohn Newton was forced to take early retirement in his early fifties because of increasingly serious hearing loss. He spent ten years wandering the world in a small sail boat, with over a year in Australia. After that trip, John was fitted with a cochlear implant and encountered other deaf people for the first time through Hearing Link. Subsequently he got involved in helping to run LinkUps from which he got immense satisfaction. John is still involved with Hearing Link and with another local charity which supports people with cochlear implants.