Masks to help the deaf communicate

Masks to help the deaf communicate

The masks are put on display at the briefing on Tuesday. (MCOT photo)
The masks are put on display at the briefing on Tuesday. (MCOT photo)

The government has unveiled a face mask designed specifically for people who are hearing impaired, with the goal of making their lives easier during the virus outbreak.

People who communicate using sign language with the hearing-impaired also read lips and facial movements to get the full message. But with facemasks obscuring the lips, communication is hindered, said Anira Thinon, deputy director-general of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

The mask is designed with a transparent window in the middle, which is large enough to reveal lip movements, she said, adding that the design was adapted from similar face masks for the deaf used in other countries.

The special masks are produced with the standard three-layered cloth which can effectively keep respiratory droplets from spreading, she said.

The masks are very important for not only deaf people but also sign language interpreters and others who have to communicate regularly with people with hearing impairments, she said.

Ms Anira said the department plans to begin producing the special face masks later this month for free distribution to sign language interpreters and poor deaf people. Some of them will be put on sale as well, she added.

The department also urges members of the public to donate materials for producing the special face masks for the deaf, so that it can supply them free to all of those in need, she said.

Ms Anira said the department is also launching an online tutorial on how to make face masks for the deaf.

The department has further opened a Facebook page dedicated to selling products made by people with disabilities. There are about 382,000 deaf people in the country.

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