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Benefits of Clear Face Masks for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC is recommending that everyone wear face masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus. While important for public safety, the use of masks can increase communication difficulties for adults and children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Not only can masks reduce the volume of speech, they make it more difficult for individuals to use facial cues or expressions and lip read which can enhance speech understanding when words may not have been heard clearly.

In addition to speaking slowly and clearly, clear face masks or masks with a clear panel over the mouth can help restore these important visual cues and help individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing communicate more easily. These masks can be purchased from various websites such as The Clear Mask​ or Safe ‘N’ Clear’s “The Communicator” mask. There are homemade clear window masks that can be purchased online. There are also tutorial videos online and on YouTube to make the masks yourself. Remember, when usin​g a mask of any kind, ensure the mask covers the nose and mouth.

Audiology staff at Boys Town National Research Hospital have clear masks to wear for appointments to better communicate with patients and families.

COVID-19;Hearing Aids Hearing and Balance