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COVID Raises Extra Challenges for the Hard of Hearing

Communication is always vital and even more so in this pandemic time. It represents many challenges, particularly for those with hearing impairment.

Presented by Ear Research Foundation December 7, 2020

Ear Research Foundation staff wearing communicator masks

“Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people.” —Helen Keller

Communication is always vital and even more so in this pandemic time. It represents many challenges, particularly for those with hearing impairment. Lipreading is an unconscious help in communicating for everyone, but it is very important to those with hearing issues. Hence, another roadblock arises with the mandatory need for wearing masks.

Traditional masks cover the mouth and nose, rendering lipreading impossible. Not only is lipreading a problem, but masks that band around the ear are also very uncomfortable for hearing-aid wearers. Additionally, all too often when the wearer removes the mask, the hearing aid comes flying off—sometimes to disappear.

To address these issues, the Ear Research Foundation devised a mask that boasts a large plastic mouth cover, with adjustable strings that go higher above the ear and lower on the back of the neck. The mask is comfortable, clear, and effective. It also:

  • Is 96% efficient at filtering large droplets and 94% efficient at filtering aerosols
  • Follows the WHO-requested composition of fabric masks:
    • Hydrophilic material (cotton) inner layer—absorbs moisture
    • Hydrophobic material (polyester) outer layer—repels moisture and can limit contamination from penetration through to the wearer’s nose and mouth

David M. Aronoff, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases, says, "Masks that are transparent may be as effective as cloth masks and might even be more effective, since durable synthetic materials (plastics for example) provide strong barriers to respiratory droplet dispersal." And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends community use of masks, specifically nonvalved, multilayer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-COV-2.

Dr. Herbert Silverstein

Get two (2) communicator masks for a $25 donation; one (1) mask for $15 donation; or two (2) masks, Ears R’ Us: Answers to Old Myths, and Dr. Herbert Silverstein’s jazz CD with a $50 donation! Call (941) 556 4219 or visit www.EarRF.org/donate, and we’ll mail you your mask to the address you provide!

Ear Research Foundation
(941) 365-0367 | www.earrf.org
1901 Floyd St, Sarasota, FL 34239

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