Frequently Asked Questions
We cover a variety of topics on this page.
For convenience, we've broken up the extensive list into three sections:
Mask it up: general inquiries about masks & reasons for clear ones.
Mask care: sanitary and specific products for clear masks.
+ and more: a variety of additional answers to thoughts you may have.
+ Mask it up
Why should I wear a mask or face covering?
As you may very well know, we're living in a pandemic that has sickened millions and killed hundreds of thousands globally. Face masks are scientifically proven to be one of the strongest ways in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. They help people stop from spreading or contracting the virus.
How are current face masks inaccessible?
Well, most face masks—like the standard disposable surgical masks, DIY fabric face coverings, bandanas, or scarves—fully cover the mouth. These common mask styles completely block any chance for lip-reading, facial cues, or facial expressions.
Who am I helping by wearing an accessible mask?
You're helping the deaf and hard of hearing population. That's more than 466 million people globally, or 5% of the world. And about 15% of American adults who reported issues with their hearing.
What's an "accessible" face mask?
An "accessible" mask is a face covering that has a clear, transparent, see-through window where others can see more of the wearer's face and mouth for easy communication. There are also emerging specialty face shields with necessary neck protection, such as, the Humanity Shield. Flip through our curated list of masks and get one for yourself!
Who should be wearing a clear mask? Why should I?
Anyone communicating with someone who has a hearing loss should wear a clear mask. You'd be helping make communication easier and less stressful for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Where, and when, should I wear a clear mask?
Wherever and whenever you're supposed to be wearing a face mask, especially when you're out and about around other people outside of your home or quarantine pod. (Like you don't need to when on that solitary morning run!)
Sheesh... I have a really cool mask, though. Now I need another?!
You can still wear that unique mask! Wear it for the Instagram, make that grand entrance with it on. Then, it would be super helpful if you could swap it out and wear an accessible one when you're going to be communicating with others.
+ Mask care
How should I take care of my clear mask? How do I ensure it's COVID-19 free?
Great questions! Taking good care of your clear masks isn't all that much different than taking care of the standard mask.
Make sure you're wearing your mask correctly, with it covering your nose and mouth.
Safely discard the disposable masks— straight into the trash bin.
Don't excessively touch your reusable mask.
If you do happen to touch it, wash your hands with soap and water (or hand sanitizer if soap and water isn't available) afterwards.
Wash your hands beforehand.
Only touch the ear loops or head ties, or the inside of the reusable mask, when taking it off. The idea is that we want to avoid touching the front of the mask.
Put it in a closed, breathable container like a paper bag—between uses—and place it away from your common spaces.
Wash your hands immediately after.
When you've worn the reusable mask a couple of times, wash it according to recommended care tips.
Well... can I wash a clear mask with the plastic and all?
Yes! It's very similar to washing other fabric masks. A lot of the businesses we have on our site have their own set of instructions, so we suggest reading those and abiding by them.
*breathes* What about fogging?
Good thought! Very similar to glasses, fogging does happen with clear masks—but there are easy solutions with anti-fog products you can purchase or with remedies using stuff you have at home!
Can I stop fogging with stuff I have at home?
Absolutely. All you need is dish soap, hand soap, or baby shampoo, and clean hands!
Can I purchase anti-fogging products & where can I find them?
Definitely. There are sports anti-fog spray or glasses anti-fog products on major e-commerce or department store websites for purchase. Anti-fog products are also available at The Hearing Spot, Rafi Nova, Happy Laugh Masks, and ShowMySmile.
Is it hard to breathe with the plastic, though?
It's not any different than the face masks you're already wearing. Although, we may not recommend wearing a clear mask for strenuous runs or exercise, when you can opt for looser face coverings.
I have anxiety wearing a mask. What do you recommend?
We totally understand—wearing masks is new for most of us. Your emotions and anxiety are 100% valid.
+ and more
Are clear masks FDA approved?
Not all of them are! The Food Drug Administration (FDA) checks medical devices to see if they meet standards on use in medical settings. Pandemic shortages have led to requests for the general population to save medical-grade masks for frontline workers.
What is accessiblemasks.org?
Hello! We're glad you're curious–and hope you have a transparent face covering soon!
First of all, we take the pandemic seriously and encourage mask usage. However, we've personally dealt with the challenges of how the masked world is inaccessible.
How'd you find these businesses?
Most of these businesses and vendors were found by our own research and verification (some we purchased and or were recommended by deaf and hard of hearing friends).
Can I contact you? Can I recommend a business/vendor?
Please do! We're at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to shoot us an email, or catch us at @accessiblemasks on Instagram.
What does the CDC, or doctors, say about clear masks?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the following about clear masks:
People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear masks if they rely on lipreading to communicate. In this situation, consider using a clear mask. If a clear mask isn’t available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a mask that blocks your lips.