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Clear face masks – why we should all be wearing them

Clear Face Masks - Transparent Communication mask

Clear face masks – why we should all be wearing them

Are clear face masks the way forward?

Clear Face Masks – To aid communication through the covid pandemic. As long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, face masks are going to be the fashion accessory that we all need to adopt. They’re mandatory in public spaces like trains, buses and shops, and failure to comply puts you at risk of up to £1,000 fine.

The best way to prevent transmitting the virus is to physically distance ourselves from each other as much as possible, avoid socialising in close confined spaces and to regularly wash our hands. When social distancing is not possible, a face mask can help prevent viral transmission

However, while there is no doubt as to the effectiveness of face masks in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, there is one particular group who face additional problems.

Roughly 12 million people in the UK live with hearing loss and rely on facial cues and lips in order to communicate. British Sign Language, used in particular by the deaf community, relies on lip patterns and facial expressions for particular words.

Covered face masks present a particular problem for members of this community and further issues of isolation or anxiety caused by lockdown.

Covering up portions of the face can present problems not only for other members of the disabled community but for the abled as well. Nuance or being able to work out the emotional state of another person can be hugely determined by facial expression – by a smile, a pinch of the lips, or opening a mouth in surprise.

But we have to wear masks. So how can we wear masks and also support the differently abled? Some have proposed LED masks, or masks with recording software, or any number of super modern ideas that involve a lot of microchips and smart technology.

Clear face masks help communication with the deaf community

Those ideas ignore the simplest option: clear face masks. Charities that work with the deaf community are pushing for the use of clear face masks so that everyone can keep communicating clearly.

The National Deaf Children’s Society recommend and support the use of clear face masks to help support the DHH community (deaf and hard of hearing) as well as communicating with the elderly, the vulnerable, or other members of the disabled community.

There is no evidence as yet on whether cloth masks are safer than clear face masks, but here are some tips for getting a safer clear face mask.

Pick a clear mask with a tightly woven fabric

Make sure there are no holes or punctures near the window of the transparent communication masks. The seam between the transparent material and the mask must be tight to be effective.

Make sure it wraps around your nose, chin, and cheeks. There should be no major gaps and it should cover your nose and mouth entirely.
Look for clear face masks that have features that work against fogging.

The biggest mistake to make is removing the mask in public to clear condensation build up. Disinfect and sanitise your clear face mask after each use. Having multiple masks will help with the wear and tear on each of them and ensure that you are never without one in a pinch.

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