Even the best lipreaders, writes Rachel Kolb
, who is Deaf, understand only 30 percent of what is being said. It’s tough to tell the difference between a “d” and “g,” for instance. “P”s and “b”s are impossible. People who mumble or laugh a lot, or who have thin lips or beards, make lipreading harder. The worst of all? Darkness.
In this well-written article, Ms. Kolb describes how she developed her lipreading skills, recounts the challenges she has faced, and questions whether she should even communicate on the hearing world’s terms. She writes, “Sometimes I feel guilty that I lipread at all. I fear that I am betraying myself by accepting the conventions of the hearing world. I fear that I lack balance — that I am abandoning the communication tactics that work for me, in order to throw myself headlong at a system that does not care about my needs. When I attempt to function like a hearing person, am I not sacrificing my integrity to a game that I lack the tools to tackle, a game that in the end makes me look slow or stupid?” (16 min)
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