With people across the world taking to making face masks at home, a woman recently created dozens of it but with clear panels. The transparent panels are meant for those with partial or full hearing loss to be able to communicate with others by lip-reading.
Claire Cross, a 45-year-old furloughed pub manager from Devon, a county in southwest England, has made about 100 such masks with clear panels sewn into them. She started making them after her friends who relied on lip reading asked her to, now that face covers are being made mandatory, especially in public transports. “I shared what I was doing and have had loads of requests not only from people that rely on lip-reading themselves but those working with people that rely on it, such as care providers and also nurses and doctors that work in speech clinics,” Cross told The Independent in an interview.
“There is no reason why people who are deaf or have hearing loss should have to endure another communication barrier,” she added.
Cross said she hoped to continue making these masks to help people in need with a “bit of confidence”. “If I can help to break that barrier down whilst giving people a bit of confidence to return to normal life after lockdown then that is amazing,” she expressed.
Charities estimate there are currently around nine million people in England alone who are deaf or live with hearing loss. About nine organisations, led by the National Deaf Children’s Society, have rallied to urge Public Health England and NHS England to work together quickly to commission transparent face masks.
Apart from this, Cross also made about 3000 face masks without clear panels. All of these masks are reportedly donated. She also set up a local sewing group towards the beginning of the lockdown, and is also raising money for local charity.
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