A deaf mother, Justine Bate, has been making masks for other deaf people so she can help them read lips as a means to allow socialising amid the coronavirus pandemic. She posted her masks online and people kept sharing her idea and has since been receiving a lot of orders on her masks, most of the orders come from care homes. The mask have a clear plastic window over the mouth that allow for lip reading.
She initially was making the masks for her and her daughter Teona, fearing she would not be able to socialise with her friends as she won’t be able to read their lips and communicate. Justine just wanted her daughter to be able to still have a sense of a normal life even during the coronavirus pandemic. Other deaf people in the community have also placed orders with her for the masks which she makes in her home on her sewing machine in her loft.
They already sold 42 on the morning of May 27 for £5.99 each, including postage and packaging. Mr Bate, from Manchester, said, ‘We can’t make them quickly enough for what people need. From the messages we are getting a lot of people from care homes – people who have got dementia and children who have got certain types of autism where they are actually scared of people with this full face mask on. It is easier as they do not get scared.’
A lot of messages are from people with carers that work with care homes that want these masks where they can actually see the lips so it is not scary. The masks are calling to attention people from the deaf community and bringing them together as Mrs. Bate has been deaf since birth and her parents before her, so this is a gift she is giving to the community.