Wednesday, 5 December 2018

What is a Lip-Speaker?


More vitally, WHERE are they!

This is Access...

Why Deaf and HoH cannot follow speech effectively.

From an HoH site demolishing the myths of effective communication advice. Perhaps the near ultimate in realistic advice?

"I must be an exception.  If I cannot follow I tell them immediately and what I found was at the start, it was my OWN fault and not other people's because I kept bluffing I could lip-read better than I actually could and kept nodding when I didn't hear or lip-read what was said.   

What I did was then utilised alternatives to lip-reading/sign language since these modes are the main issue with many near or deaf, relying on skills they DON'T actually have.  Sometimes it works, more often it fails, then when it fails you have to revert to more effective means to follow.  I've reverted to a pencil and paper, used my phone as a text medium etc.  

Most importantly I did what most of my peers don't usually do, and tell people at the start if it is obvious I am not getting what it said despite my nods then use plan B or even C.  Even I am not infallible and resort to the nod on occasion but I am aware of it and let others know, I don't get embarrassed about stating I didn't really get that.  Most hearing people know what we are missing it's us that don't, we kid ourselves.  If we carry on nodding we get people frustrated and annoyed when you still haven't understood the question despite nodding assent.  

80% of communication issues we face are down to our own pride, and not wanting to look foolish, this just means we look silly anyway because we signalled we did follow.  The definition of the 'nod' is yes, we follow.  So the key is to be absolutely honest with yourself first.  I've lost count of Hearing aid users insisting their aids work if you adopt the stat position of 'face me, speak clearly...'  and all that incomprehensible conditioning first, and when others do, it STILL didn't work, it's no use then blaming other people.  

I tell them using my preferred/alternative method tends to work 90% of the time. We have to show we can compromise and have the ability, more vitally the WILL to do that, being intransigent or dogmatic is pointless.  We need many options to follow speech there is no single mode that really works so you have to adapt to survive. What you don't do is nod and run.   Meetings etc you plan ahead first, don't just turn up hoping to wing it.  You could be sitting well away from the speaker and not able to follow at all. I demand a front seat every time.   

Sign requires knowledge hearing don't have, save that for a deaf club if you attend one of them, or rely on an interpreter, however, UK law does NOT enable support for you if the situation is not within the system not even 'open meetings' by Local authorities etc.  

As regards to lip-speakers, or even paid text support, there isn't a UK  system to use.  Lip-reading demands speaking skills most don't really have, even using a lip-speaker isn't really taught to those that get them, and they have a 20-minute rest rule, whereas we as users have to concentrate for hours.  If it is too much for them it is too much for us.  Both modes really demand a situation that is already primed to make maximum use of perceived skill, sadly out there, and on the street, is NOT one of them.  Even supported venues for deaf can mean 60% still not really following.   It's usually a system whereby these deaf use a 'Chinese whisper' system, but is fraught with major issues of lack of detail.

Obviously, there are assistive technologies you can utilise and should be anyway, but utter reliance on them should also be avoided if the image is you staring at a screen and not the person speaking it's rude.  It also establishes a barrier at the start.

It's a prime debate with deaf using interpreters the suggestion the deaf are taking little or no notice of who is speaking and the general view they could be sitting at home and doing that or in a club and not bother going anywhere.  The analogy being if you can watch a TV programme with text and it doesn't interfere with an ability to follow, then so should sign support, not interfere either, maybe the deaf need to address that, and appreciate how others are viewing that aspect.  Hearing say the barrier is the visible terp on screen, its deters and detracts from the TV visuals behind the terp.  

Not helped with no agreed size/placing on our TV screens.  Using up to a third of screen space should be avoided, ideally, an '888' option for signed access should be the norm.  You can turn off subtitling but not sign.  No doubt cries of discriminations go up, but addressing the practicalities of how deaf view things and how the hearing do, needs some sort of compromise.   Maybe technology has the answer.

Just make communication easier on yourself, however, opting out of hard to follow situations should be avoided, as it can become a habit, stress, is life, we get just as stressed sitting around unable to follow, using  'downtime' to relax is often an excuse too because you don't monitor how much of it you are doing, or the real reason you are doing it.  It can be easy to just self-isolate. You need to find ways to follow and manage difficult situations, not avoid them.  We can all sit at home following life on the internet or phoning everyone, but that isn't real people in real time and is not improving your own personal communication skills.

Some areas suggest 'testing' the HoH and Deaf to determine what really does work for them viz-a-viz deaf/hoh and hearing access.  We test babies at birth for hearing loss, but from then on, no real rigorous tests and tuition to ensure they communicate better to adulthood and beyond.  We need a proper tuition of communication skills to replace the randomness of UK approaches that don't have any qualification requirement for the actual grass root learners.  Ironically hearing people DO need such qualifications.  They don't actually determine the level of sign skills in the deaf and should be doing, neither is there a system to address those who attend lip-reading tuition with no bottom line either..  

No one could approach a job that way, certainly not a serious sensory issue. You wear glasses to see you, you don't keep the same ones all your life despite your eyesight getting worse.  Stronger hearing aids only serve part of the issue and reliance is not really on as hearing loss, can and really does render them useless, then you are stuck with no effective means to follow.  It's no surprise so many older people are the main ones suffering this problem after years of HA use. Or, that it is too late to help them and no system exists anyway to head deafness off at the pass.

Deaf and HoH should still have to re-train to maintain skills, be it sign or Lip-reading, literacy is still an issue too, but it is not a system or approach those with hearing loss adopt to own communication, they leave education and adopt the position, demanding facilitation/support and rights via others, but you will remain always a 3rd party, and you are up the creek when support isn't there, but what point? if there are severe limitations to making effective use of them?"