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Culture Beat / Apr. 7, 2020

Kentucky College Student Makes Masks for Hearing Impaired

She “channeled quarantine time into making specialized masks for the deaf and hard of hearing.”

“‘I just saw that people were making masks on Facebook for everyone to have instead of the throwaway masks, and I was like, what about the deaf and hard of hearing population?’ explained the 21-year-old Kentuckian college senior. Lawrence is studying education for the hearing impaired and spotted the gap.”

“‘I felt like there was a huge population that was being looked over,’ Lawrence said. ‘We’re all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of. So, I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication.’ She also explained why these masks — which sport a transparent plastic window in the front to enable lip-reading — are so important:”

ASL is very big on facial expressions and it is part of the grammar. So I don’t know if you have seen Virginia Moore on Andy Beshear’s things at five o'clock, but she’s very emotive, and if half of that is gone because you’re wearing a mask, then half of what you’re saying is being missed, so even if it’s not physically talking and just using ASL, then you need to have that kind of access.

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