College Student Designs Face Mask for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Face Mask for Deaf and Hard of Hearing by Ashley Lawrence

Stock Photos from TextureWorld/Shutterstock

The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), but those who are crafty enough have been making their own face masks from recycled fabric at home. The CDC has approved many of these homemade masks as acceptable precautionary protection, but there’s one design flaw—by covering our mouths with fabric, the masks make it impossible for the deaf and hard of hearing to communicate. That’s why Kentucky-based, 21-year-old college student Ashley Lawrence designed a reusable face mask with a see-through window.

“As a college student studying Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I have a great appreciation for the ways in which the world is designed with hearing people in mind,” says Lawrence. “Those who rely on lip-reading or ASL to communicate are often cut off from their source of communication when doctors and nurses don surgical masks.” Using some old bedsheets and translucent plastic fabric for the window, Lawrence cleverly modified the standard mask so that it’s suitable for those who lip-read or who rely on the facial expressions.

Lawrence launched her idea on GoFundMe to help cover her production costs, and, as of April 2, 2020, she reached her goal. Lawrence is now distributing her masks to anyone who needs one, free of charge. And she even plans to upload a DIY tutorial on YouTube, so you can make her face mask design at home.

Although Lawrence has already raised the funds she needs, you can still donate to her cause. Profits will be donated to Hands & Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Find out more about the reusable masks for the deaf and hard of hearing on Lawrence’s GoFundMe campaign.

College student Ashley Lawrence designed a reusable face mask with a see-through window for people who are deaf or hard or hearing.

Face Mask for Deaf and Hard of Hearing by Ashley Lawrence

Ashley Lawrence: GoFundMe
h/t: [Hello Giggles]

All images via Ashley Lawrence.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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