Frequently Asked Questions
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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 face covering?
You're helping the deaf and hard of hearing–that's more than 466 million people globally, or 5% of the world. In the United States, this is about 15% of American adults who reported issues with their hearing.
What's an "accessible" face covering?
An "accessible" face covering 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 making conversations 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. In general, 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?!
Mask it up
The point of masks and why we need accessible ones
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. Here's a handy list for you.
Wear your mask correctly, covering your nose and mouth
Safely discard your disposable masks straight into the trash bin
Don't excessively touch your reusable mask
If you do touch it, wash your hands with soap and water (if unavailable, use hand sanitizer)
Wash your hands beforehand
Only touch the ear loops or head ties when taking it off–avoid touching the front of the mask
Put it in a closed, breathable container, such as a paper bag, away from common spaces between uses
Wash your hands immediately after removal
After wearing your reusable mask a few times, wash it according to its 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. You can grab sports anti-fog spray or glasses anti-fog products on major e-commerce or department store websites. 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.
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.
The basics of owning, wearing, and caring for accessible masks
Are clear masks FDA approved? Which ones are they?
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. 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 through our own research and verification (some we purchased and/or were recommended by other deaf and hard of hearing friends).
Can I contact you? Can I recommend a business/vendor?
Please do! 👍
What does the CDC say about clear masks?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the value of clear masks, and advocates for their use when around deaf or hard of hearing people.
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.