College student creates special face mask for deaf and hard of hearing community

As soon as it became apparent that there was a shortage of personal protective equipment, people started getting creative and made their own PPE with whatever they could find around their homes.

Ashley Lawrence, 21, saw countless people posting about masks online and she couldn’t help but wonder about the deaf and hard of hearing community.

“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?” Lawrence told LEX 18.

The college senior at Eastern Kentucky University is majoring in deaf education and wanted to make sure everyone had access to a face mask.

Screenshot

Lawrence discussed the idea with her mom and the two got to work creating a mask with a clear shield which would allow those who lipread the ability to read the lips of the person wearing the mask.

GoFundMe/Reusable Masks for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

“For anyone who uses speech reading, lip reading, anybody like that,” Lawrence said. “And people who are profoundly deaf who use ASL as their primary mode of communication. ASL is very big on facial expressions and it is part of the grammar.”

She’s even trying to find a way to make a face mask for those with cochlear implants or hearing aids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to put a strap around their ears.

Lawrence wanted to make sure that everyone who needed a mask received one, so she has been sending the masks out free of charge. However, she did set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs for shipping and before the fundraiser closed she raised more than $3,000.

In the future she plans to launch a Facebook page for the DHH Mask Project, but for now if you would like to request a mask you can reach out to [email protected]

Amazing work! I love reading these kinds of stories.

Do you know someone you could benefit from one of Ashley’s masks? Share this on Facebook and let them know.