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Lipreading Awareness Week – Lipspeakers and me

Posted on by Lesley

I have used lipspeakers for twenty years to provide communication support in the workplace, to readily access information which is all too often taken for granted by hearing colleagues.

Without lipspeakers, I would never know my role in the workplace or the tasks I am supposed to undertake. Moreover, lipspeakers have helped me realise how much I like or do not like the organisation. In other words made me think ‘…actually this meeting was boring, this job isn’t the career path I want to follow…’

Image of Tim Reedy, male with short black hair, trimmed black facial hair. He is sat in front of a white wall with half a picture frame showing behind him. Tim is smiling at the camera

Without them I wouldn’t have access to knowledge, which is a basic human right. I really don’t think lipspeakers ever realise how much they have changed clients’ lives. In my case, they have changed mine. They have helped me realise how I should lead my life. I have much to thank them for.

It is worth mentioning that over the last ten years, I have decided that I have witnessed a new order of lipspeakers–one that is much more slick, more professional and operating to a higher level of competence, which is reassuring if you are going for job interviews or meeting clients if you are a freelancer.

I ditched my previous job as a Civil Servant. I wasn’t interested in the role. Lipspeakers in my meetings helped me realise that. After all, you only have one life. These days, I function as a freelancer in the gig economy, taking on several different jobs to gather different streams of income.

  • I am an illustrator; I also teach illustration to six year-olds at an After School Club.
  • I am a professional cat-sitter with 22 five-star reviews with catsitting agency catinaflat.com. I feature on the front page of the laptop version of their website as “…Our star catsitters…” Many cat-owning clients give me repeat business.
  • I am a professional lipreader for national
    ewspapers and organisations such as the Football
  • Association.
  • The last one, dare I say, I am a nude model. My mother said, as long as you’re getting paid, that’s fine by me. So there you go–as it pays more than the minimum wage, it’s certainly better than the Civil Service.

Now, the fun bit. What do I like my lipspeakers to do?

  • I like them to smile and talk about the little things in life, such as watching Netflix.
  • I like them to feel relaxed and ready for the assignment, which gives the impression you will access knowledge, same as my hearing peers.
  • Maintaining the correct level of professionalism. For example, a lipspeaker would be more relaxed at a pub quiz, yet expected to show good conduct at hospital appointments.
  • Always coming to the assignment on time. Lateness is a cardinal sin, although it has only happened twice in my twenty years.

As I conclude, lipspeakers are a great asset to clients who are deaf and lipread. We should make a fuss of them. They deserve it; and out of all the jobs today, theirs is probably one of the most interesting ones. They are not stuck in an office working with the same colleagues. Lipspeakers get to work at different locations with clients. I often think they get to visit owl sanctuaries. I am not sure why, but it’s a nice thought. Maybe one day, they’ll tell us.

If you are interested in checking out my work further, you can see my postings on Instagram. My two accounts are 4869timr (for illustration) and e17catsitter (for catsitting videos).

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