Patients with hearing impairments frequently appear before the otologist giving evidence of a well-developed skill of lip-reading, or speechreading. Often, this skill is unconsciously developed to overcome the barrier to communication created by loss of hearing. Miriam Pauls8 expressed this idea, "While facility is usually developed to a high degree only by formal instruction, necessity can produce spectacular skill." The degree to which such persons depend upon speechreading is directly related to the nature and amount of their hearing loss. In particular, the poorer the speech discrimination (PB) score, the more the person employs this skill. In other words, those with perceptive impairments are usually more dependent upon speech reading than those with conductive loss.
In spite of the widespread appearance of this skill, little is known about the perceptual process involved in it. The relevant variables would seem to be type of materials for speechreading and individual differences
BRANNON JB, KODMAN F. The Perceptual Process in Speechreading. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;70(1):114–119. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730040118018
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