Specialized transparent masks developed for hard-of-hearing

Ottawa couple finds "clear" solution for the overlooked needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
By: Stewart Wiseman
May 27, 2020
Photo: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

Although wearing masks has helped reduce the spread of COVID-19, it has led to overlooked issues of socialization and interaction for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. With people's mouths now covered, new challenges have arisen for those who rely on lip-reading for communication. Thankfully, Ottawa residents Nancy and Keith McGruer have developed a "clear" solution allowing for the hard-of-hearing to communicate without risking their health and safety.

Combining an old sewing machine with their resourcefulness, the McGruers are hard at work crafting masks with a transparent window that covers the mouth. It is truly a collaborative effort, with Nancy sewing the masks and Keith cutting the novel plastic windows. Nancy, who wears hearing aids, wanted to find a solution for others who suffer from audiological impairments. The couple has already produced 50 specialized masks, which have been donated to CHEO and others in need. The masks have had an immense impact on hearing-impaired children and their parents, according to Chantal Lessard, the coordinator of CHEO's audiology department. The McGruers hope to be able to donate more transparent masks soon, with requests coming from audiologists across Canada and the United States.

Source: Ottawa Citizen



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