What is lipspeaking?
A lipspeaker is a hearing person trained to repeat a speaker’s message to lipreaders accurately, without using their voice. They produce clearly the shape of words, the flow, rhythm and phrasing of natural speech and repeat the stress as used by the speaker. The lipspeaker also uses facial expression, natural gesture and fingerspelling (if requested) to aid the lipreader’s understanding. A lipspeaker may be asked to use their voice, using clear communication techniques, thus enabling the lipreader to benefit from any residual hearing.
Messages, which are too fast for lipreading, may have to be pared down by the lipspeaker, who is not more than a sentence behind the speaker. Many people speak up to 200 words a minute; lipspeaking, therefore, requires a high level of concentration. If two people speak at the same time, neither message can be passed on. Lipspeakers are also trained to provide a voiced transmission of the lipreader’s message if requested.
Many lipspeakers have the ability to use sign language, a few are also qualified sign language interpreters. If you would like some sign to support your lipreading then please do ask.
Who uses lipspeakers?
Lipspeakers are mainly used by deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people who use lipreading as their first means of communication with other people. These lipreaders generally have good English skills.
Hearing people may use a lipspeaker in order to communicate with deaf people. A lipspeaker may be employed to aid communication between lipreaders and hearing people in a range of situations, for example:
- adult education
- all legal settings
- further and higher education
- conferences and meetings
- training courses
- job interviews
- social events
Lipspeakers are experienced to manage all situations. They are qualified to accept professional assignments in the following settings:
- employment (job and career development, interviews, training courses)
- further and higher education (lectures, tutorials and demonstrations)
- medical settings (including HIV and AIDS counselling)
- theatre, television and cabaret work
- social services (including child protection and mental health)
- coaching, therapy, counselling sessions etc
- political meetings (including parliamentary lobbies)
- legal work (tribunals, solicitors and barristers’ meetings, police, and all courts of law)
- assignment with lipreaders who have particular requirements, for example Usher syndrome
How many lipspeakers do I need?
For many assignments two lipspeakers will be required. A lipspeaker should not be expected to work alone for a whole day or for complex and specialist areas of work.
Code Of Practice
All lipspeakers are expected to conform to a professional Code of Practice and must keep all information on assignments strictly confidential.
How do I find a lipspeaker?
Registered Level 3 lipspeakers are listed in the NRCPD Directory.
The Association of Lipspeakers (ALS) publishes a Directory of Members
If you experience difficulties in finding appropriate lipspeaker support, contact the Association of Lipspeakers.
Registered lipspeakers will always carry their NRCPD badge: