Humans of Scotland

Jill’s story – empowering people to communicate through lipreading

"I love sharing my experiences as a lipreader with my classes at Forth Valley Sensory Centre."

This story is about: DisabilitySensory

“I have been profoundly deaf for most of my life due to having measles as a very young child. Even before my deafness was diagnosed, I was lipreading at a very young age. My eyes would go to the lips of people when they were talking. Through school and working life, I always had to make sure that I could see what people were saying. Throughout my life, I have always had support from my parents, family also friends. I use BSL due to my husband being a native user so have the best of both worlds. I used to wear a hearing aid which was heavier than me as a child as this was in the 1960’s.  I used to say my hearing aid was my best friend as it helped me but my worst enemy with the background noise. I also have tinnitus which is bizarre as I cannot hear anything at all but have loud noises in my ears.

I love lipreading people no matter where I am. I have had many different jobs in the area of deafness. In the year 2000 I found an advert to train people to become a tutor for lipreading. I qualified in 2001 and this has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I love sharing my experiences as a lipreader with my classes at Forth Valley Sensory Centre. There are so many different ways of building lipreading skills, through the pandemic, some of us managed Zoom Classes. Then we started the face-to-face classes again recently where we were so happy to see each other again. The face coverings have thrown up a lot of challenges which we explore in the class leading to problem solving exercises.  Lipreading is like a jigsaw where there are lots of missing gaps when communicating, so the classes give the students confidence also, we learn a lot about similar lip patterns, invisible lip patterns.

If you have a hearing loss why not come along to the class to learn the skills of lipreading and meet others in the same situation?”

Learn more about the support and services provided by Forth Valley Sensory Centre.

Read about the establishment of the Scottish Sensory Hub at the ALLIANCE.