Center for Disease Control is now saying that face masks are to be worn.
Which is good and right and I totally support this, BUT
But, but BUT!
I’m a lipreader and with masks on over lips, I hear absolutely nothing. I mean, NOTHING.
I can only tell that people are talking by dint of their eye movements or body language.
The Girl Who Invented Clear Masks for the Deaf
God bless this girl and all, but if I get another link to these posts about how she invented this clear mask for us deaf, I’ll scream!
And it’s so useless to send ME this stuff; if people really want to help with this, send it to mask makers, to hospitals, doctors, to Target and Home Depot!
I’m not the one who needs to know that clear masks should exist, or know tutorials for how to make one, because I don’t have the wherewithal to make a bunch of clear masks and give them out to pharmacists, shop assistants and whomever else I need to ask a question of.
I don’t need to know that this is an issue; I’m pretty well aware of that already.
But what I did need to know were some solutions. I mean, what AM I going to do?
Face masks are not – and should not – go away anytime soon. We need people to wear masks, and in that vein, I don’t a solution to be for someone to lift their mask up to talk with me – I like my health too, and I don’t want them spitting Coronavirus on me because I can’t hear.
Solutions to Not Being Able to Lip Read or Hear Because of Mask Wearing Include:
Embrace being deaf
This means, just sign.
Just get into ASL (American Sign Language).
Most people don’t knowASL, but at least if I sign and refuse to talk myself, they won’t go thinking that because I talk so clearly, I can actually hear them.
To facilitate this, it’s best if I just don’t wear my hearing aids, or turn them off.
3. Speech to Text Apps
There are some really good ones out there now.
So good, in fact, that I wrote a whole post on the best ones (it’s linked here: Best Speech to Text Apps).
The good ones include large font, so I don’t have to get too close to the person who is talking. They also have the option to pre-program the app with set phrases so I wouldn’t have to get started with everything while standing in front of the person.
It’s also fairly easy to wipe down my phone after being in the air that’s in the vicinity of others.
Communicate Like the Deaf
Deaf people have been figuring out how to communicate with the hearing for, well, as long as there have been people around.
Because I do hear when I’m wearing my hearing aids, and because I am such a ninja at lipreading, I have not had to figure out English/Deaf communication anywhere close to the extent that a person who hears absolutely nothing (- with or without hearing aids/implants) has to.
People who do not have the option of hearing aids and lipreading are pros at communicating in an entirely different way, and it was to them that I turned to when I needed to know some solutions for this here and now.
I am very grateful for the time they took to respond to my questions, and for the game-changing solutions they offered.
More Posts on Things Deaf-Related
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.