How to make a Deaf-Friendly Face Mask
Posted by Victoria Leedham
Different regulations exist for different parts of the UK however in England, from 24 July, it will be necessary by law to wear a face covering in shops, supermarkets and on public transport.
Blocking half of the face removes a crucial source of information and this may present significant challenges for deaf and hard of hearing people who rely on facial expressions, non-verbal cues and lip reading to communicate.
There are a number of things you can do to make life a bit easier for deaf people who lipread, one of which is to wear an accessible, deaf-friendly face mask with a ‘window’ over the mouth area. These aren’t as widely available as other types of face masks, but some independent providers in the UK are starting to sell them.
Whilst this is not a solution that will suit all deaf and hard of hearing people in every situation, wearing one will certainly better enable communication as the person opposite will be able to see your mouth when you are talking, which could really help them.
Luckily for us, expert volunteer Carol Norley kindly took on the project of developing and testing a pattern during lockdown. We are delighted to share this, along with her how-to guide to making your own deaf-friendly face mask below.
The following documents should provide everything you need to make a deaf-friendly face mask. We recommend you print out the template for best results:
Dog Trainer Harriet Green, pictured here with trainee Dolly, says: "I only got my sewing machine this year, but I’ve given Carol's deaf-friendly face mask a go and it worked out really well!"
If you have success with making or using one, do share with us @hearingdogs on social media.
Please note face coverings like these are solely intended for personal use. They are not considered as PPE or medical devices and as such do not carry a CE mark.
Thank you Carol
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