For immediate release: Thursday 26 March 2015
NATIONAL DECLINE IN TUTORS OF VITAL COMMUNICATION SKILL FOR PEOPLE WITH HEARING LOSS IS REVERSED, REVEALS NEW REPORT
The national decline of tutors teaching lipreading – a vital communication skill for people with hearing loss in Scotland – has been reversed through the work of the Scottish Lipreading Strategy Group according to a new report Lipreading classes in Scotland: the way forward launched today (Thursday 26 March 2015).
Lipreading classes teach people with hearing loss how to identify lip shapes, patterns and facial gestures which help fill in the gaps of conversations they haven't heard clearly. Attending lipreading classes also enables people to meet and be supported by others with similar experiences, challenges and frustrations that hearing loss can often bring.
The training of 16 new tutors through the Scottish Course to Train Tutors of Lipreading (SCTTL) over the last two years has addressed the decline – caused by the retirement of ageing lipreading tutors – by increasing the capacity to 29, a level last achieved in 2007. A further cohort of tutors will be trained from September 2015.
In providing £200,000 to fund the Group's work since 2012, the Scottish Government recognised that learning to lipread plays an important role in helping people to better manage their hearing loss as well as improving communication, health and wellbeing.
As well as training the new tutors, the Group conducted a research project which involved the first-ever global literature review on lipreading, developed pathways to and through lipreading classes and a range of resources to support people who use or run classes – including a decision aid to help people to decide whether learning to lipread would be appropriate for them, mapping all the classes currently running throughout Scotland and creating materials to best promote those classes.
The Group has also produced a series of short videos for the SCTTL website – www.scotlipreading.org.uk – which explain what happens in lipreading classes and how learning the skill can benefit people with hearing loss in everyday life.
Delia Henry, Chair of the Scottish Lipreading Strategy Group, said: "We are delighted to launch our Lipreading classes in Scotland: the way forward report which provides details of our ground-breaking research, our training of new tutors and the production of new resources to transform awareness of the benefits of learning to lipread and increase the provision of classes.
"Although we have successfully addressed the decline in tutor numbers, only 46 classes currently run in Scotland and availability varies across each region. Our report highlights that there is still work to be done for Scotland to meet on-going challenges – including finding ways to sustainably deliver an additional 275 classes to meet potential demand by people with hearing loss in all of our communities to learn this life-changing skill, which improves everyday communication and confidence."
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: "The Scottish Government welcomes the work of the Scottish Lipreading Strategy Group in taking forward aspirations to improve access to lipreading classes for adults with hearing loss across Scotland.
"The training of new tutors is significant progress towards opening up lipreading classes to benefit more people who are deaf or hard of hearing and we will examine the recommendations of the report as we consider the next steps Scotland can take to enable more people to learn lipreading when they address their hearing loss."
To download the Lipreading classes in Scotland: the way forward report, visit www.scotlipreading.org.uk
Eileen Clarkson, Campaigns and Media Officer for Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, on telephone: 0141 341 5340 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) The Scottish Lipreading Strategy Group consists of: Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA), Hearing Link, NHS National Audiology Manager, The Scottish Council on Deafness (SCoD), Scottish Course to Train Lipreading Tutors (SCTTL) and the Scottish Government.
2) One in six people in Scotland have some kind of hearing loss – that is an estimated 867,500 people (326,000 of working age and 541,500 who are retired).