The information visually available on the mouth and face for speechreading represents only about 30% of the phonemic information of spoken language, limiting visual access to spoken language for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Cued speech is a visual mode of communication that uses a combination of handshapes and placements to clarify the ambiguous information available through speechreading, making the language being spoken fully accessible through the visual modality. For American English, this involves a combination of eight handshapes representing groups of consonant phonemes that are visually discrete on the mouth and four placements on or near the face reflecting sets of vowels that are visually distinct.

These handshapes and placements combine with the information from speechreading, or speech-based information visible on the ...

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