US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) has already updated recommendation that the general public wear protective masks –not just medical staff and the infected.
Following this, demand for face masks has surged. However, wearing face masks all the time has its own share of problems, especially for for the deaf and hard of hearing. So far, to deal with the pandemic, we have had many innovative solutions around.
Eastern Kentucky University senior Ashley Lawrence, who’s studying Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, began creating special masks to make the experience for that population less intimidating.
On April 1, she created a GoFundMe to raise money for the production of paper masks with a translucent mouth panel. “Many people have been pitching in and creating reusable fabric masks, which the CDC has deemed acceptable for use during these desperate times,” the description read. “Paper masks with clear pieces over the mouth already exist, but like the regular surgical masks, they are in short supply during this crisis.”
Lawrence exceeded the fundraiser’s goal of $3,000 in less than a week, and she’s now distributing the masks, free of charge, to anyone who needs one, ill or not. “If someone who needs these adaptive masks falls ill, they will have a mask to give to their doctor, so they can communicate more easily with each other,” she wrote.
Any additional donations that didn’t directly benefit Lawrence’s mask production was donated to Hands & Voices, a non-profit organization that supports families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. “Thank you so much for everyone’s love and support for this project! At this time, we are no longer accepting donations, as we have met our goal,” she wrote on her GoFundMe.
“Thank you all who have donated and who have reached out wanting to donate. The tutorial for the masks will be posted to YouTube hopefully by end of week, so please make your own for your own community! If you still would like to donate to the cause, please consider donating to a charity for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.”