To prevent the spread of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic, people are encouraged to wear masks when out in public. The standard mask design can pose a problem to those that have a hearing loss. The elastics that loop around the ear can interfere with behind the ear hearing aids and could cause them to fall out and be lost when putting on or removing the mask. The mask can also create a challenge for those that rely on lip-reading and facial clues to communicate. It muffles the voice and it could be difficult to understand what is being said.
To help people navigate through this time, we have compiled a list of alternative mask designs to help those that have hearing loss. We will also be providing a link to a video from the CBC about proper ways to put on and remove a mask.
The first is an option to help with the issue of having the elastic straps behind the ears.
Source: Bridgette C McQuaig on Facebook
Source: Pam Grice madewithatwist.com
Take a 4” piece of ribbon, sew a 4” piece of fabric, or take some yarn and crochet a 4” rectangle. Sew 2 buttons on either side. Then loop the elastics on the mask on the buttons instead of behind the ears.
The measurement can be adjusted shorter or longer depending on the size of your head.
Here is a link to a free crochet pattern:
Sore-Ear Saver Mask Holder: Free Crochet Pattern
Source: Jessica Nandino, RN nursemade.co
Source: Julie Cefalu thecraftyquilter.com
The second option takes a little more skill and effort. It is a pattern for a mask that has long straps that tie around the head rather than loop behind the ears. Alternatively, if you have a fabric mask that already has ear loop elastics, you could cut the elastics off and create straps that tie around the back to sew on instead.
Here are links to two styles of masks with patterns and instructions:
A.B. Mask - for a Nurse by a Nurse (https://www.nursemade.co/)
Versatile Face Mask pattern and tutorial
Source: DHH Mask Project
The last is a helpful mask with a plastic window in the front to be able to see the person's mouth while they are talking. It was designed by Ashley Lawrence and her instructions can be found here:
DHH Mask Project
CBC video on how to safely put on and remove a mask:
Stay safe, stay healthy. Stay home as much as you are able. We will get through this together.