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Learning to lipread: building confidence and skills

By Nicola Hicks

What is the point of going to a lipreading class? You might think the answer to this is simple – surely people go because they have lost some hearing and need to lipread to help them follow conversation.

It’s true this is the main reason people enrol, but there are lots of other benefits that might not be so obvious if you have never tried a class.

Acquired hearing loss often impacts confidence. When people experience hearing loss, they typically worry that they won’t be able to join in a conversation. They may also fear looking silly or rude if they misunderstand what has been said or accidentally ignore someone.

This can impact on a person’s confidence and can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. They may choose to socialise less or stop going out at all. Or perhaps they lack the confidence to apply for a new job or ask for the adjustments that would help them at work.

Feedback from learners who attend lipreading classes at City Lit shows that attending a class has given them back some confidence and skills to enjoy their social life again and helped them in the workplace.
They have reported that the classes are an opportunity to meet others with acquired hearing loss and share experiences. This has helped to reduce their feelings of isolation.

Learners also say they like the fact that the majority of lipreading tutors have hearing loss themselves and teach techniques to help manage hearing loss from lived experience.

The majority of learners who completed 30-week courses at City Lit during the academic year 2021-22 reported benefits beyond simply learning to lipread. The top three key indicators of benefit from attending a lipreading class were:

  1. 82% of learners reported improved ability to participate in a group
  2. 77% of learners reported improved general self-confidence
  3. 73% of learners reported improved confidence in social situations

Free taster sessions and 8-week introduction classes in lipreading at City Lit start in September-October 2022 and you can study face to face (Covent Garden in London) or online from anywhere in the UK via Zoom. Contact the lipreading team for more information at

City Lit also runs short workshops to help people cope with acquired hearing loss including Managing Hearing Loss at Work, Living Well with Hearing Loss and Managing Tinnitus. Full details on the City Lit website.

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.

Nicola Hicks at City Lit

Nicola HicksNicola Hicks is Teacher Co-ordinator, Lipreading and Acquired Hearing Loss at City Lit.