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What is the Easiest Speech Sound to Lip Read?

May 15, 2019

Lipreading Mom


I recently finished teaching a lip reading class in the Kansas City area. One of the questions I asked attendees was, “When it comes to lip reading, what is the most visible speech sound?”

Several hands were raised.

“The /M/ sound,” said a gentleman who lost some hearing in the military.

“I think it’s the /B/ sound,” said a woman who learned English as a second language.

“The /A/ sound,” was the answer given by yet another attendee. “Because the jaw drops when you say it.”

I nodded. Yes, all of these sounds are apparent on the face. So are the sounds for /P/, /F/, /V/, the long /O/, and /Wh/. Especially the /Wh/ sound. Think about all the “Wh” questions we ask in our everyday conversations.

Several attendees agreed.

What We Can’t See

“But there are lots of sounds I can’t see,” was one attendee’s reply. “I can’t see…

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