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Student makes reusable masks for people with hearing disabilities

Ashley Lawrence wearing a mask

A college student from Versailles put her stir-craziness to good use with a project that will help people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“With the increasing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis in America, healthcare workers are desperately seeking PPE, which is in short supply. Many people have been pitching in and creating reusable fabric masks, which the CDC has deemed acceptable for use during these desperate times. However, a key group are excluded from this movement: people who are deaf and hard of hearing.” said 21-year-old Ashley Lawrence.

Lawrence is a senior studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing at Eastern Kentucky University. Due to the virus, she is living back at home and doing her student teaching from home.

“The solution seemed clear to me: just like there are fabric surgical masks being made, so too does there need to be masks made that are adapted for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Paper masks with clear pieces over the mouth already exist, but like the regular surgical masks, they are in short supply during this crisis. So I have modified the fabric mask pattern to be suitable for those who lip read or who rely on the facial expressions used when communicating in ASL to understand meaning and intention”

If you are a part of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community and would like to request a mask, please reach out to us a dhhmaskproject@gmail.com.

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