France’s deaf and hard of hearing to benefit from a transparent mask to enable them to lip read during Coronavirus pandemic
FRENCH inventor Kelly Morellon has designed a transparent face mask to help the deaf communicate. Morellon, who lost her hearing following an accident found that for those who rely on lip reading, face masks threaten to cut off communication.
“Masks are the enemy of deaf people. But Covid-19 won’t stop us living life,” she said.
While essential for public health, the muffled conversations and lack of visible facial expressions that come along with masks can make conversation a challenge.
Along with her mother Sylvie, Ms Morellon has designed and made a partially transparent mask to help her and others with hearing problems stay safe and communicate.
“We looked at different tutorials to find a mask that would fit our needs and meet AFNOR standards,” Morellon explained.
They eventually settled on a design that is reusable, washable at 60°C, and with a removable plastic window covering the mouth.
While the masks do not need to be worn by deaf people themselves, Morellon hopes they will be adopted by those who interact with the deaf and hard of hearing regularly, such as cashiers or in hospitals where deaf people who don’t know how to read or use sign language may not understand the treatment they are being given if they aren’t able to lip read.
She said “In France, there are five million of us. Our disability is invisible, but we don’t want to be.”