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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Hearing loss? Help at hand for lip readers

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Hearing Loss – lip-reading classes based on the Bible

Many people as they get older become hard of hearing, or they may be deafened through illness or accident. The statistics show that people who are deaf become much more isolated, their mental health suffers and they are more prone to dementia. Lip-reading is a way to help people improve their communication skills and give them more confidence to interact with others.

Judi Pettman is a member of St Mary Bredin Church in Canterbury and a teacher of deaf children. She recently qualified as a lip-reading tutor for adults. Judi says there is a demand for lip-reading tutors and classes around the country. She delivers lip-reading courses for her local charity Hi Kent, which gives support for deaf and hard of hearing people in East Kent ( At the moment Hi Kent’s courses are provided virtually due to the pandemic.

One area where Judi feels there may be a need for lip-reading is in our churches. She has been in touch with Open Ears Ministry, the Christian organisation for deaf people, who are unaware of any specific lip-reading classes for churches. Judi would like to pioneer a lip-reading class for adults specifically based on the Bible, initially using Zoom and hopefully classroom-based when the pandemic is past.

Our ability to lip-read improves if we are familiar with the context and content of what is being said. So rather than attending general lip-reading classes, it would be helpful to base all the lip-reading exercises on the Bible or church-related vocabulary.

Judi has created a trial lesson, which you can view on YouTube. It includes subtitles which can be turned on if they don't come up automatically. Do view the lesson to learn about how lip-reading can be taught. Judi’s classes would not be Bible teaching but supporting hard of hearing people to access church services whether in person or online. She would aim for them to be fun and supportive of people coming to terms with a loss of hearing.

Please contact Judi at if you or someone you know might like to take part in piloting a virtual lip-reading class based around the Bible. Judi would love to hear from anyone with an interest in supporting deaf and hard of hearing people in church.



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