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As COVID-19 continues to spread in our society, wearing face masks have become an integral part of daily life. For users with disabilities, specifically those with hearing impairments, the utilization of face masks creates additional problems. The obstruction of facial and visual expressions from mask wearing poses an increased difficulty in communicating with individuals when lip reading is not accessible; additionally, the elastic straps that hold the mask in place can become entangled or dislodge hearing aids, creating more discomfort for the users. Further, blocking a majority of the face from view makes it harder to see critical vital and life-threatening signs of potential seizures and strokes. While there are some current solutions, many are highly specific, while others are expensive and inefficient. Therefore, this project aims to develop a mask that can alleviate these issues at a more accessible, sustainable, and cost level. The physical and chemical properties of various materials, including hydrophobicity, wettability, and skin biocompatibility, will be evaluated to validate the design. We propose an improved 3-layer mask system with a small clear window through each layer to promote visualization of the mouth and support proper filtration of air flow. A nose pinch will be incorporated to diminish fogging of glasses, as well as a redesigned head strap that repositions the straps away from the ears will prevent the accidental displacement of hearing aids.

Symposium Date

Fall 12-1-2012


face masks, hearing impairments, COVID-19 (disease)



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Accommodating Face Mask for Those with Hearing Impairments

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