What is a Lipspeaker?

A ‘Lipspeaker’ is a hearing person who has been professionally trained to be easy to lipread. Lipspeakers reproduce clearly the shapes of the words and the natural rhythm and stress used by the speaker. They also use facial expression, gesture and, if requested, finger spelling, to aid the lipreader’s understanding. This practise is known as ‘Lipspeaking’.

BSL & Lipspeaker video versions of the page​

  • A lipspeaker may be asked to lipspeak whilst using their voice, using clear communication techniques, thus enabling the lipreader to benefit from any residual hearing.
  • If requested, lipspeakers can relay a deaf person’s voice.
  • Lipspeakers are required to undertake specific and tailored Legal training before being able to accept work and support d/Deaf people in the Legal domain.
  • For assignments that are more than two hours long, it is suggested that two lipspeakers would be required. We can advise if this is necessary on a case-by-case basis.
  • Some lipspeakers have British Sign Language (BSL) skills and can offer lipspeaking with additional sign support, if requested by the lipreader (we recommend a minimum of BSL Level 2). Find out more about Lipspeaking with Additional Sign.
  • All of our Lipspeakers are NRCPD registered and badges must be carried with them at all times.

What is Lipspeaking with Additional Sign?

Some lipspeakers have additional British Sign Language (BSL) skills and can offer lipspeaking with additional sign support, if requested by the lipreader. 

  • We recommend that a Lipspeaker have a minimum of Level 2 British Sign Language to offer this service. To see an example of Lipspeaking with Additional Sign watch this ALAS demonstration.
  • Some qualified Lipspeakers are also Registered Sign Language Interpreters (RSLI).
  • A lipspeaker may be asked to lipspeak with additional sign whilst using their voice, thus enabling the lipreader to benefit from any residual hearing. 
  • If requested, lipspeakers with additional sign skills can relay a deaf person’s voice and some basic BSL if used.
  • Lipspeakers with additional sign skills are required to undertake specific; tailored Legal training before being able to accept work and support d/Deaf people in the Legal domain.
  • For assignments that are more than two hours long, it is suggested that two lipspeakerswould be required. We can advise if this is necessary on a case by case basis.
  • All of our Lipspeakers with additional sign skills are NRCPD registered and badges must be carried with them at all times.
 

Photo credit: Steve Murigi

NRCPD Registered

All of our lipspeakers are qualified and registered with The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCDP). They follow a Code of Conduct, have an up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and are subject to a complaints procedure.

NRCPD badge Lipspeaker

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Top Tips For Working With A Lipspeaker

  • The lipspeaker will make sure that he/she is clearly visible to the lipreader.
  • The lipspeaker should have behind him/her, a solid dark colour background to prevent ‘visual noise’ as sustained lipreading is tiring.
  • Good natural ­lighting should be on the upper body and face of the lipspeaker without the presence of shadows.
  • Please inform the Chair, if it is not you, that a lipspeaker will be joining the meeting, that you will receive the message 4 or 5 words behind the speaker therefore please allow time for you to interject/question and to check in with you regularly to see if anything needs to be adapted to improve communication.
  • Please provide the following at least 24 hours before the meeting:
    • Meeting notes/slides
    • Agenda
    • Attendees
    • Name of the Chair
  • Consideration of the following should be sent to the lipspeaker before the meeting:
    • Whether you prefer lipspeaking with fingerspelling
    • Whether you prefer lipspeaking with additional sign
    • Whether you are happy for us to relay your voice if others have difficulty understanding you
    • Wheather you prefer lipspeaking with/without voice
  • Breaks must be factored into meeting times if the meeting is likely to last for more than one hour. For meetings over two hours or complex meetings with multiple attendees, a co-worker may be required. Lipspeaker UK can advise on a case-by-case basis.
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