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Mandatory face masks and Deaf Awareness

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

From today it is compulsory to wear a face mask when in a shop or supermarket in the UK 😷⁠

While masks help slow the spread of coronavirus, they make communication difficult for the 12M people across the UK who have some form of hearing loss, and that might further aggravate their feeling of isolation.⁠

Now more than ever Deaf Awareness will be absolutely crucial for the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.⁠ Please bear in mind the following advice:⁠

💜 The first and easiest thing people can do is to BE KIND, patient and empathetic.⁠

🤟 Learn a few phrases in British Sign Language or fingerspelling would help.⁠

📝 If speech isn't working, write it down.⁠

📱💬 You can use mobile apps that translate speech into text.⁠

🗣 You could temporarily remove a face covering while speaking to a deaf person if you feel safe doing so. You do not need to wear a face covering if you or the person you care for are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

Windowed masks are a huge help for people who lip reading, some independent providers in the UK are selling them.

How to use a face covering safely?

  • Wash your hands before putting your mask on and taking it off.

  • Make sure your mouth and nose are covered by your face coverings.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Wash your face covering after every use. If you are not able to do it straight away after wearing it, store it in a plastic bag until you have time.

  • If you are using a disposable face covering, you should throw it away after every use.

  • Wearing a face covering does not replace advice on social distancing - you should still remain two metres away from people wherever possible.

  • Continue washing your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, with warm water and soap.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus it is important that you still self-isolate at home.

Where to buy transparent face masks

You can buy transparent face masks online and communicate effectively with those who are deaf or hard of hearing:


British Sign Language and Deaf Awareness Online Courses by Deaf Umbrella
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