College Student Makes Masks for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

A college senior from Versailles (State of Illinois, US) put her stir-craziness to good use with a project that will help the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The student Ashley Lawrence noticed that many people have started making their own face masks due to the shortage of medical supplies amid the coronavirus crisis. But she didn’t see masks designed for the deaf and hard of hearing community — so she decided to sew them herself.

“So right before the pandemic, masks were made and made commercialized to help people with hearing loss have access to their doctor’s mouths for lip-reading/speech reading,” Lawrence said in a Facebook post on Monday. “Because of the shortage of masks, everyone started making their own, so I thought: why not make them for all?? This is how we stay #HealthyatHome”

“And my mom really likes to craft and she’s really good at just picking stuff up and just doing it,” she said. “So I came down one morning and I was like, ‘What if we made a mask?'”

Lawrence, who said she is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University majoring in deaf education, posted photos of two face mask designs, both with transparent screens around the mouth.

The transparent screens allow those who know how to lipread in the deaf and hard of hearing community to read the lips of the person wearing the mask.

The screen also ensures people are better able to see the facial expressions of the wearer, which is important for those communicating using American Sign Language.

For now, the woman is making as many of them as she is capable and sending them out to people for free.

However, as the demand rises, she is planning to give away free patterns and tutorials so people can make their own. To keep her cause going, she created a GoFundMe campaign so people can help her pay for the supplies.

Photo: Ashley Lawrence on Facebook
Photo: Ashley Lawrence on Facebook
Photo: Ashley Lawrence on Facebook
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