Factors that affect face shields and masks with clear windows – perspectives from people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

The CDC outlines how to protect yourself and others from developing COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor your health

We will be focusing on the third bullet point – the use of cloth face coverings.

The purpose of this post is to serve as a central location for surveys that have been developed by Tina Childress, Carrie Spangler and Mary Beth Napoli.

Tina Childress is an educational audiologist in Illinois and is a bilateral cochlear implant user. Carrie is an educational audiologist in Ohio and uses a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. Mary Beth is a retired Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing in New York and uses bilateral cochlear implants. We understand first-hand the challenges that accompany trying to communicate when people are using some kind of face covering.

Studies have shown that various kinds of solid (cloth) masks can have the following effects:

  • Loss of visual cues
  • Speech is quieter
  • Consonant sounds are dampened

This is in addition to the effects of listening at a distance [6 feet/2 meters] and often, competing background noise. All of these factors have a compound affect on those of us already struggling to hear due to hearing loss.

As educational audiologists and educators, we are concerned, like many of our colleagues, about the effects of face coverings in a classroom setting. There have been discussions about alternative “coverings” in the form of face shields. Carrie has been a driving force on this issue and has written articles and been interviewed to discuss some of the advantages of face shields.

We wanted to make sure that we also got the opinions of many of YOU, people using masks with clear windows and face shields in non-medical settings, to see what improvements can be made or what you think is working well.

Surveys

In order to keep product comments separate, we decided to do separate surveys for each type of shield and mask.

Which face shield or mask with clear window do you use? Click on the corresponding link below to leave us your thoughts! You may answer more than once if you have multiple products.

If there are any products that you would like to add to this list, please contact me (tina [dot] childress [at] gmail.com).

Survey
DIY Masks with Clear Windows
undefinedFace Shield (generic – elastic strap)
Face Shield (generic – velcro strap)
Humanity Shield
InstaShield
Shield Pals
The Clear Mask
The Communicator Clear Surgical Mask
ZShield Flex
The Smile Mask
(added July 11, 2020)
Bucket Hat
(added July 11, 2020)

Summaries of Responses to each of the products can be found at this link. They will be updated periodically based on the number of responses.

Thank you so much and please let us know if you have any questions!

References

Communication in Crisis: Speech Intelligibility with N95 Respirator Masks

Consideration of Face Shields as a Return to School Option

Connect-Hear.com – Knowledge Base including section on Masks and Shields with ordering information and DIY instructions

The Impact of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) on Remote Microphone Systems (June 17, 2020 Oticon webinar – has yet to be posted)

Transcript of ASHA Voices: So You Want to Reopen? An Audiologist Shares How He Did It

Author: Tina Childress

I am a wife, mother, educational audiologist, late-deafened adult and bilateral cochlear implant recipient who travels between the Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing and hearing worlds. Feel free to contact me at tina.childress@gmail.com

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