A College Senior Creates Reusable Face Masks for the Deaf

All people are now required to wear masks when indoors in public places. With everyone scrambling to get their hands on a mask of their own to help protect themselves, some people are realizing that masks can be providing a disadvantage to others. A college student in Kentucky who is studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing community realized that those who rely on lip-reading and speech reading can have trouble communicating while wearing face masks.

 Ashley Lawrence makes see-through face masks
A College Senior Creates Reusable Face Masks for the Deaf

Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands

The 21-year-old senior named Ashley Lawrence felt an entire population is overlooked. She’s studying to earn a specialized degree from Eastern Kentucky University and decided to take matters into her own hands. She started using bedsheets along with leftover plastic crafting supplies to create face masks that help protect yet also clearly show the mouth of the person wearing it to make it possible to lip-read.

Lawrence mentioned that American Sign Language is dependent on facial expressions since it’s part of the grammar. She said that people should have access to these expressions, even while wearing a mask. That’s why she decided to create her own.

Inclusive Face Masks

 Ashley Lawrence and her mother
A College Senior Creates Reusable Face Masks for the Deaf

Aside from making face masks for those that are deaf and hard of hearing, Ashley is also working on different things for people who have cochlear implants and hearing aids if they aren’t able to wrap the masks around the ears. She is making the masks so that they can go around the head and neck.

According to Ashley, she’s received dozens of orders across six different states. All this happened within 48 hours of her sharing her prototype mask on Facebook. She’s working on making a template that can be shared virtually with other sewers who want to create their own face masks for protecting themselves.