New lipreading classes for residents of the north east with hearing loss

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North East Sensory Services logo

A north east charity is preparing to launch a new lipreading course for beginners to help build confidence in those with hearing loss.

North East Sensory Services (NESS) will offer the fortnightly sessions in Aberdeen from October, allowing people to learn how to lipread in a relaxed and informal environment. The free classes will be held every second Monday from 2pm-4pm and the course will run for two years with breaks during holidays.

Names are being taken for the charity’s Lipreading and Managing Hearing Loss class in Elgin, which runs on alternate Wednesdays from 10am-12pm. Due to funding arrangements for the classes, sessions in Aberdeen are only available to people living in the city and classes in Elgin are only available to those living in Moray.

During the two-year course, people will learn to recognise sounds that are visible on the lips and develop other skills and tactics to understand what a speaker is saying. They will also be able to share tips and get support from others with similar experiences. Lipreading classes allow people who are deaf or who have hearing loss to communicate more confidently, reducing isolation.

It is estimated that one in six adults in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing, representing approximately 11 million people. This is expected to rise to 14.5 million people, or around 20 per cent of the population, by 2031. Having skills like lipreading and British Sign Language can help people cope and continue to communicate.

NESS stressed that those attending the lipreading classes at its resource centres in John Street, Aberdeen, and Victoria Crescent, Elgin, will be able to go at their own pace.

“During the two years you will learn to identify visible lip shapes, learn coping strategies, and get information on supportive equipment available, some of which will be demonstrated during the class. We will discuss some of the types and causes of hearing loss as well as how to get the most from your hearing aids.”

Brenda Allan, Aberdeen lipreading tutor

“Lipreading involves training the brain to see spoken language on the lips and to use any residual hearing alongside context, gestures, expression and body language to fill in any gaps to make sense of what is being said.”

Debbie Miller, a lipreading tutor in Elgin

“Having had the chance to attend a lipreading class has been a positive experience for me, I do feel I cope better with my hearing loss. I’m more aware of how to help myself and my confidence has improved.”

One previous participant

For more information about the classes, please contact NESS on 0345 271 2345 or email NESS.

NESS supports thousands of people with visual and hearing impairments across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Angus, and Moray.

“Hearing loss can be incredibly isolating as it creates new challenges with communication, which may ultimately affect a person’s feelings of independence. Our aim is to break down these barriers by giving people the tools they need to communicate and socialise more confidently. We’re delighted to be offering a new lipreading course for beginners in Aberdeen, starting in the autumn. Spaces are also available for our classes in Elgin, and we would encourage anyone who might be interested to get in touch.”

Libby Hillhouse, training and information officer with NESS


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