For the hard-of-hearing and deaf community, face masks worn to prevent transmission of COVID-19 have caused communication difficulties, according to an article on CNN.
Those used to lip reading are unable to see the other person’s lips, and whiteboards and paper cannot be easily passed back and forth with social distancing requirements in force, CNN reports. Even if the mask is safely removed, it can be difficult to read lips from a distance of six feet or more.
Organizations like the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center have published resources on their website for communicating during the pandemic, and suggest printing out a page that can be shown to others, indicating hearing impairment; utilizing communication apps on smartphones; and packing an ”emergency bag” with vital communication tools such as chargers, pens, tablets, emergency contact information, and more.
The CNN article also suggests possible utilizing face masks with a plastic panel over the mouth, developed by a Kentucky college student, which allows the mouth to be visible.
Source: CNN, Lex18