Tamil Nadu

Now, masks with transparent mouth covers to help the hearing impaired

The mask made by Mohamed Hakkim in Tiruchi

The mask made by Mohamed Hakkim in Tiruchi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A Coimbatore-based organisation and an individual in Tiruchi are both making such masks and are waiting for government approval in order to mass produce them


From collecting surplus food to running community kitchens to serve the hungry, food collection organisation based in Coimbatore, ‘No Food Waste’ has now stepped into attempting something new. The organisation has been trying to make various types of masks with transparent mouth pieces for the hearing impaired. Everyone now is required to wear masks for safety following the COVID-19 pandemic, but those with hearing impairments are facing a new barrier as they cannot follow when people talk with the regular masks, as they rely on lip reading.

Watch | Transparent masks to aid the hearing impaired

A.G. Padmanabhan of No Food Waste says, the organisation has made trials with different types of masks with various people, from children to the elderly. “We have given the masks to many of the organisations that have persons with hearing impairments, and the government as well. We will wait for their feedback, make any changes that they require and also get approval from the government and then start producing more for distribution,” he said.

Another person, 29-year-old Mohamed Hakkim from Tiruchi too has come up with a special mask with a transparent mouth cover. Mr. Hakkim says, “I have made both one-time and reusable masks; and these have eco-friendly transparent paper for the mouth cover. I have to get the government’s approval and once it comes through, I want to distribute 1,000 such masks for free to those in need of them,” he says.

Keerthivasan, a 23-year-old person with a hearing impairment says the regular masks pose a huge impediment for him as he doesn’t understand what people are trying to communicate. “I cannot expect others to take off their mask every time someone tries to talk to me. We have been looking for masks with a transparent mouth cover so that people around us and those we are constantly in touch with, can use them,” he says.

N. Vinoth, a sign language interpreter, says he has received several requests from many with hearing impairments in the last few weeks asking him if such masks are available. “There are many who depend on lip reading to understand what people communicate,” he adds.

Since wearing a mask has become the new normal for everyone, wearing masks with transparent mouth covers will also show how people are emoting as well as their expressions, he adds.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 5:53:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/now-masks-with-transparent-mouth-covers-to-help-the-hearing-impaired/article31591302.ece

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