In hearing people, silent speechreading generates bilateral activation in superior temporal regions specialised for the perception of auditory speech [Science 276 (1997) 59; Neuroreport 11 (2000) 1729; Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 268 (2001) 451]. In the present study, FMRI data were collected from deaf and hearing volunteers while they speechread numbers and during a control task in which they counted nonsense mouth movements (gums). Brain activation for silent speechreading in oral deaf participants was found primarily in posterior cingulate cortex and hippocampal/lingual gyri. In contrast to the pattern observed in the hearing group, deaf participants showed no speechreading-specific activation in left lateral temporal regions. These data suggest that acoustic experience shapes the functional circuits for analysing speech. We speculate on the functional role, the posterior cingulate gyros may play in speechreading by profoundly congenitally deaf people.