Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms of Service

Improved Lip-reading Training for Deaf and Hearing Impaired

  • Published: 2009-09-10 (Revised/Updated 2018-01-26) : Press Release by University of East Anglia
  • Synopsis: This research confirms how difficult the vital skill of lip-reading is to learn.

Main Document

This research confirms how difficult the vital skill of lip-reading is to learn and why RNID is campaigning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to have improved access to classes.

A new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests computers are now better at lip-reading than humans.

The peer-reviewed findings will be presented for the first time at the eighth International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2009, held at the University of East Anglia from September 10-13.

A research team from the School of Computing Sciences at UEA compared the performance of a machine-based lip-reading system with that of 19 human lip-readers. They found that the automated system significantly outperformed the human lip-readers - scoring a recognition rate of 80 per cent, compared with only 32 per cent for human viewers on the same task.

Furthermore, they found that machines are able to exploit very simplistic features that represent only the shape of the face, whereas human lip-readers require full video of people speaking.

The study also showed that rather than the traditional approach to lip-reading training, in which viewers are taught to spot key lip-shapes from static (often drawn) images, the dynamics and the full appearance of speech gestures are very important.

Using a new video-based training system, viewers with very limited training significantly improved their ability to lip-read monosyllabic words, which in itself is a very difficult task. It is hoped this research might lead to novel methods of lip-reading training for the deaf and hard of hearing.

"This pilot study is the first time an automated lip-reading system has been benchmarked against human lip-readers and the results are perhaps surprising," said the study's lead author Sarah Hilder.

"With just four hours of training it helped them improve their lip-reading skills markedly. We hope this research will represent a real technological advance for the deaf community."

Agnes Hoctor, campaigns manager at the RNID, said: "This research confirms how difficult the vital skill of lip-reading is to learn and why RNID is campaigning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to have improved access to classes. We would welcome the development of video-based or online training resources to supplement the teaching of lip-reading. Hearing loss affects 55 per cent of people over 60 so, with the aging population, demand to learn lip-reading is only going to increase."

The AVSP conference is being held in the UK for the first time since its inception in 1998. The University of East Anglia will host cutting edge researchers including psychologists, engineers, scientists and linguists from as far afield as Australia, Canada and Japan.

As part of the conference, delegates will take part in a Visual Speech Synthesis Challenge in which a number of visual speech synthesizers, or 'talking heads', will battle it out to determine the most intelligible and visually appealing system.

AVSP runs as a satellite conference to Interspeech 2009 which will be held in Brighton. Topics under discussion will include: machine recognition of audiovisual speech; the role of gestures accompanying speech; modeling, synthesis and recognition of facial gestures; and speech synthesis.

Keynote speakers will be Dr Peter Bull of the University of York who will be exploring The Myth of Body Language and Prof Louis Goldstein of the University of Southern California whose presentation is entitled Articulatory Phonology and Audio-Visual Speech.

Comparison of human and machine-based lip-reading by Sarah Hilder, Richard Harvey and Barry-John Theobald is published in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2009 on Thursday September 10 2009.

The research will be presented on Saturday September 12 at the International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2009 at the University of East Anglia.

For more information about the conference, please visit www.avsp2009.co.uk

Part of the lip-reading test used to compare the performance of the machine-based lip-reading system and human lip-readers can be downloaded from www.jtuk.com/training/part1.html

Similar Topics

1 : Using Sign Language Builds Phrases with Similar Neural Mechanisms as Speaking : New York University.
2 : Hearing Charities of America's Hearing Aid Project Changing Lives with Donor's Help : Hearing Charities of America.
3 : Brain Imaging Predicts Language Learning in Deaf Children : Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
4 : Sign Language Comparative List of Astronomical Words : International Astronomical Union.
5 : Sign Language May Offer Answer to Meaning of Music : New York University.
From our Deaf Communication section - Full List (64 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Bias Keeps Women with Higher Body Weight Away From the Doctor
2 : Smart Hoteliers are Building a Healthier Future
3 : Teaching Baby Sign Language - Nita, Show Us More
4 : MitoQ Novel Antioxidant Makes Old Arteries Seem Young Again
5 : Telemedicine Helps Overcome Healthcare Gender Based Barriers
6 : Screen Reader Plus Keyboard Helps Blind, Low-Vision Users Browse Modern Webpages
7 : Our Digital Remains Should be Treated with Same Care and Respect as Physical Remains
8 : Tungsten: Concern Over Possible Health Risk by Human Exposure to Tungsten


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™