Are clear masks the way to clearer communication? The deaf community isn’t so sure.

Summarized by Matthew Dehler, staff writer

The coronavirus sparked many innovations over the past three months, particularly in the deaf community. While clear face masks help many communicate safely with others, some deaf people are unsatisfied.

According to Sarah Katz, a deaf writer for the New York Times, “Clear masks should have been made a long time ago. Opaque masks have been a barrier not only during this public health crisis, but also in regular health care situations. The current crisis has just expanded the number of situations in which masks are an accessibility barrier.”

Some people believe face masks aren’t efficient enough and fog up users’ mouths, so it’s hard to read their lips. Considering that the rough estimate of sign language users in the US is anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000, that’s a bigger problem than it may seem.

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