If there is one thing that many newspaper do, is to grab attention at whatever the cost. Unfortunately, the ‘lip reading experts’ headline tends to attract a lot of attention. But at the same time, it damages the perception of what lip reading is.
Yet, certain tabloid newspapers can’t help but use them all the time when they want to snoop in and get an “expert” to come in and reveal all. But as someone who has been surviving and heavily dependent on lip reading (like many other deaf people, I know that it’s not that straightforward.
This makes it ever the more frustrating when those misleading headlines give the impression that anyone can lipread and it is 100% effective and accurate.
But I can promise you right now; lip reading is not straightforward.
You can watch my rant in the video below….:
…listen to it below or on your podcast platform of your choice…:
…or read the transcript instead.
You know what’s really bugging me at the moment? It’s when I see those headlines, especially in the tabloids, it’s always the tabloids, and they do these kind of headlines with like a “lipreading expert have analysed the person. What have they been saying? This person, the person said, and it’s like, oh, my God. Shock, horror! He did not say that”…kind of headline.
You know how it is? It’s always in sports or celebrity news, lately there has been a lot on the whole royal family in the U.K. and “what Prince William said to Prince Harry” and all these things.
[Sigh] It just so much.
There are so many of these headlines in the tabloid and people generally believe it. And even a video of one person said, “oh, no, he did not”. And then this lipreading experts, I don’t know what makes them an expert. They say, “oh, they definitely said it. They definitely said it. This person said, can you believe it? Let’s talk about that”.
Those kind of headlines really annoy me for many reasons. But one thing I should say that the people who are expert, they tend to be what they called forensic lipreading experts.
I don’t get it. I mean, maybe speak someone who knows more about it, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. What they do is a lot of the time they analyse these people speaking, and in situations where it required a court case. Maybe there’s a criminal investigation, they are brought in to analyse what the person has said.
The thing is, though, I’ve talked about this before. I talk about how lipreading is not a solution. It’s not the be-all end-all. And people see it as like a superpower. “If you can do that, then you will understand everything”. And the problem with these headline, I’m not having a go these experts, (not all of them anyway), what I’m really annoyed about it is people will then believe in the fact that if you can lipread, then that’s enough. That’s all you need to do.
But it’s not that simple. You should really check out my post and video about lipreading. You can learn more about it below.
But these kind of headlines do not make it easy for us to educate people and say that it’s not a solution, it’s not 100% accurate, but those headlines are really dangerous, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, these tabloid magazines, they make it believable. They make it shocking, those kind of clickbait-y kind of headline. And people generally believe it. And that makes it more damaging for people like myself, other deaf people, people who are hard of hearing. And they say that, “OK, I can lipread a little bit by I also need other things”.
But then the response might be, “oh, if you can lipread, that’s fine, I can say whatever I want, you’ll be fine”.
And long story short, about lipreading, it depends on many, many things and it will never, ever be 100% accurate. Unfortunately, those kind of tabloid articles don’t really say that. They just tell you those brief moment and that’s it; move on to the next wild stories.
It fails to explain how accurate, actually how inaccurate, lipreading is because it depend on so many things, like is clear, is it good lighting. Can you really see their faces? Is it visible? Because I’ve seen those headlines where the title is “lipreading expert, said this person said this”. But then the pictures of these people, lately the royal family, they’re wearing a mask. It makes me wonder, what am I missing about lipreading through masks?
I’m sure people will say, why are you complaining about it and why are you the one who’s speaking about it? It’s not like you are an expert, right? Well, first of all, let me tell you, we are the expert at it. People who, not just use it all the time who depend on it…We live it!
We are dependent on lipreading, amongst many other things. We know better than anyone. We know what we’re looking for and how to make it easy for us and how can it help us. We know better. We live it and people can train and they can learn about it. But let’s face it, we know how inaccurate it can be.
We know what environment works best.
We know what to look out for. And we just know that we can’t just be completely 100% dependent on it.
We require other things to just plug in the pieces in the jigsaw.
So if you do want to ask that question, what makes us an expert? Well, we live it 24/7.
I mean, OK, not 24/7…No, not while we’re sleeping or when we’re having a shower or brushing your teeth. Yes. Put that aside…We just know what lipreading is about but the problem is those annoying tabloid headlines with people saying “we are the lipreading expert”, they go on TV, they do these interviews…
[Play acting] – (Gasp!) Prince Harry said this. I’ve read his lips. He said this. Can you believe it? No, he didn’t yet. He did. No, he didn’t. Yes, he did”
Oh, get over it! Yeah, you can see I’m annoyed by it. I am annoyed by it because it’s just another thing that is kind of damaging what we need and people said, “oh you’re fine, you are lipreading”, that’s all we need.
And then they do other things. They say stuff like, “can you lipreading that person over there? Can you see that person? Oh he’s only a few miles away? You can read their lips, right? You a superhero?
So like I said, in terms of the forensic lip speaker/lipreading expert…that’s a little bit different. I don’t fully know how that works, but I would hope that it’s not being dependent on 100%, and there are factors to take into consideration when you want to read people’s lips, because it’s not that simple and it’s not that straightforward.
And take it from us; we know!
What do you think? Am I over-exaggerating? I don’t think I am because it makes sense to me and I’m sure it makes sense to a lot of people who depend on lipreading and uses it a lot.
Let me know what you think. Don’t forget, like, let me know what you think down below, and it’d be great to hear your thoughts and opinion about it. Do you disagree with me? Let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment.
In the meantime, I will speak to you again soon. Take care!
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