9 Clear Face Masks That Make It So Much Easier to Communicate
It’s time to bring back the lipstick!
While face masks are crucial in preventing the spread of COVID-19, they’ve added a barrier to verbal communication. Who else has struggled to order drinks at their coffee shop or understand their waiter list off today’s specials?
For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, opaque cloth face masks make it especially difficult to communicate by covering the mouth and lower portion of the face, hiding lips and facial expressions.
“You cut out a lot of the grammar when you cover half of the face, especially the lips,” says Amanda O’Hearn, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Clinical Services. “My clients have a really hard time communicating when most people are wearing masks. It’s also a bit dehumanizing; you don’t know if people are smiling or are friendly.”
Marina Fanshteyn, cofounder and executive director at the Deaf Wellness and Recreation Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., says she often has to pull down her cloth mask to expose her face while using American Sign Language, defeating the purpose of the mask.
Thankfully, more brands are creating partially or fully transparent face masks. By still covering the nose and mouth, these masks with clear windows create a physical barrier from particles while allowing people to read lips and facial expressions. For anyone that is an educator or works in an environment where they’re constantly communicating with others, clear masks are a game changer.
Worried about the mask fogging up? Plenty of transparent masks are made with anti-fog technology. If yours isn’t, you can coat it with anti-fog treatment or simply wash the inside of the clear plastic panel with dish detergent and water, then let it air dry or wipe with a cloth to prevent fogging. And for the best protection, ensure the plastic is tightly sewn to any fabric and that the mask covers all your bases—nose, mouth, and a snug fit under the chin.
Fanshteyn and O’Hearn hope more people consider wearing clear face masks, not just for their own needs, but for the communication needs of everyone. Check out these nine styles below and bring your smile out of hiding without sacrificing safety.
SomoFinds Floral Mask
These cotton masks give you the best of both worlds—a delicate floral print and a transparent pane for clear communication. The reusable mask uses PET anti-fog material and adjustable ear loops. Best of all, you can nab it with free shipping on Etsy.