Celebrating clear masks from NHS Scotland
Whilst masks are important for helping to control the spread of Coronavirus, they can create communication barriers for deaf people, especially for those who rely on lipreading and facial expressions to communicate. Everyday interactions with people wearing fabric or surgical masks become difficult if not impossible for many, with exclusion being experienced in clinical settings too. Important information may be missed and people may feel excluded and isolated throughout the process. This is why we have been campaigning for changes to the availability of clear masks, ensuring access to services is equal for all.
The good news is that clear masks are now available on NHS Scotland. Clinical professionals will have access to clear masks, benefitting deaf patients. This means that communication barriers caused by obstructed view of the face are reduced and deaf people can once again feel like part of the conversation.
What can you do to help?
By wearing a clear face mask, you will be making it easier for those who rely on lipreading and facial expressions to communicate, while also staying safe. This simple change could make a world of difference. We encourage you to spread the word about the benefits of clear face masks – the more people who wear them, the less barriers to communication are likely to occur.
There are a lot of providers of clear face masks, but we have pulled together a few examples:
• Breathe Easy
• Molly Watt Trust
• Leith Toy Hospiral
• Clear Expression
• The Hello Face
If you have any stories you would like to share about your experiences with masks, fabric or clear, please get in touch.