A college student in the US has come up with an ingenious solution for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in need of facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ashley Lawrence noticed that people were starting to make DIY masks to protect themselves amid coronavirus pandemic. But there weren’t any masks designed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing — so Lawrence decided to create her own.
In a Facebook post debuting the design, Lawrence said, “so right before the pandemic, masks were made and made commercialized to help people with hearing loss have access to their doctor’s mouths for lip-reading/speech reading. Because of the shortage of masks, everyone started making their own, so I thought: why not make them for all??”
Featuring transparent screens around the mouth, the mask allows people who can lip-read to see the lips of the other person they are interacting with and easily understand them. In addition, the ‘see-through’ mask also shows the facial expressions of the other person, which is important for those communicating using Sign Language.
Lawrence’s post went viral, and she told NowThis that she is working hard to “get a local group together to help with the high demand.”
“We have been so completely overwhelmed by the response and pleased that we could do our part to bring awareness to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community,” she revealed.