Masks for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
As we follow recommendations to wear masks in daily life, we are staying safe but making communication for D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals even harder. We are seeking volunteers to sew masks that include clear panels so that our community can read lips and see facial expressions for tone and ASL cues. Below we have four options with patterns. Please keep scrolling for important pro tips and information!
If you can help, please email email@example.com. Thanks!
Pattern Created by Local Volunteer
Fold the vinyl fabric around the pattern piece, and cut out. Sew bias tap along top and bottom. Use a 2" x 3" piece of fabric to make an ear loop channel for paracord to go through. Sew a 3" to 4" piece of bias tape or 1/2" ribbon to the middle of the top of mask to create a place for the nose wire. Sew only the top, bottom, and one side of this space so that the wire may be removed for laundering. Cut 4' of paracord. Remove the inner cords. Burn the ends (carefully) to prevent fraying. Use a safety pin to run the paracord up one side and down the other. Slide both ends onto one pony bead. It can be difficult. You can use an orange stick or tweezer to work it on. Knot each end.
FOR ALL CLEAR/NO EDGE MASK: Follow same directions, but skip all bias/ribbon steps. These are quicker to make and very effective! You may need a slightly thicker vinyl.
PRO TIPS: For comfort, someone wearing the full vinyl mask will wear it only during an appointment and will wear a cloth mask outside the actual communication time. A volunteer is developing another pattern option in which the nose and chin wires can be removed for washing. Masks will be hand laundered or disinfected after each wearing. Interpreters will need multiple masks throughout the day because they will not wear the same mask to different assignments.
PRO TIPS: Masks can be made with these or with elastic or with ties around the head. Parachute cord with a toggle is great for tying around the head. To prevent fogging, treat with an anti-fogging spray or anti-fogging drops, or rub inside of clear panel or mask with dishsoap. Let dry and reapply as needed. Vinyl material can be purchased in rolls from fabric stores. Clear, vinyl tablecloth material also works.
Clear masks give total accessibility. This version shows a clear mask with ear loops instead of paracord.
This video features another pattern for mask with a large clear panel.
This mask has a great design that allows clearer, more accessible communication,, but please do not use bright colors or patterns because they are visually distracting.
These masks prevent D/deaf and hard of hearing people from reading lips and seeing necessary facial expressions and ASL cues.