HOUSTON - New face coverings are designed to help a community that feels silenced.
“The deaf community, and even other disabilities that rely on the face, all of the sudden that was taken away from us,” said Emma Faye.
Like roughly 350,000 other Texans, Emma Faye is deaf. While mandatory face-covering laws are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they also create communication barriers for those hard of hearing.
“I’m completely dependent on lip reading, sign language, and technology,” said Faye. “The biggest thing is people talking over me, or my parents having to order for me at a restaurant. It’s really taking away my independence that I fought for my whole life to have.”
Just this week, the Centers Disease Control and Prevention added new information to their mask advisory to acknowledge those hard of hearing. In these instances, the CDC recommends the use of clear face coverings, written communication, closed captioning, and decreasing background noise.
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“People are so focused on, we have to have a face covering, they forget what kind of face-covering would be best,” said Whitney Wilson.
Wilson’s 8-year-old daughter is also deaf.
“They’re feeling very left out,” said Wilson. “Socially, they’ve been pushed to the side.”
Emma Faye is the founder of Aid the Silent, based out of Boerne, Texas. Recently, the company started selling clear masks in a mission they’re calling #ClearToBeClear.
“We are getting national attention,” said Faye. “People are paying attention. The advocates for the deaf community are having some small victories right now.”
If you’re interested in purchasing a clear mask or learning more, click here.