Student makes face masks to accommodate deaf people and those hard of hearing
The world seems to be facing shortages of protective face masks as we attempt to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
While the official advice is to only wear masks if you’re presenting symptoms, many are still wearing them while outside.
But one student noticed that the protective masks, as well as the DIY ones made at home weren’t catering to the deaf and those hard of hearing.
These groups often rely on lip-reading which is impossible when people cover thier mouths.
So 21-year-old Ashley Lawrence decided to make her own masks that accommodate lip-reading.
With the help of her mum, Ashley made her own batch of protective gear that come with small transparent windows that allow deaf people to understand what’s being said.
When Ashley, who studies Deaf Education at Eastern Kentucky University, posted the design on Facebook, people loved the idea and shared it in their thousands.
Writing on the social media website, Ashley said: ‘Because of the shortage of masks, everyone started making their own, so I thought why not make them for all? This is how we stay healthy’.
She then decided to give them away for free but with such high demand and so many peeople in need of it, Ashley decided to teach people and send them tutorials on how they can make theirs at home.
She updated her post, saying: ‘I am completely overwhelemd with the love you have all given these masks. We’ve updated the pattern for the mask to be easier to make.
‘We’d love for you to make some or send you the pattern to make some.’
Ashley noted that when one is wearing masks, it’s hard for anyone to be able to hear everything they’re saying, but much more for those hard of hearing.
She said that American Sign Language relies heavily on lip reading and that these masks would enable that.
If you are still wondering whether it’s necessary to wear a mask, remember that the official government advice is still that there is no need to in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said that although the issue was ‘controversial’, the position hadn’t changed.