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Face masks pose challenges for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH)

Officials with the Scott County Health Department are reminding the community how to effectively wear "face coverings." Director Ed River offered some suggestions on how to properly wear one. (MGN Image)
Officials with the Scott County Health Department are reminding the community how to effectively wear "face coverings." Director Ed River offered some suggestions on how to properly wear one. (MGN Image)(KWQC)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 11:48 AM CDT
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Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in different ways. As most know in order to help stop the spread of the virus everyone is being asked to wear a mask.

However, for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or DHH community, wearing a mask posses more of a challenge as most in this community greatly rely on lip-reading.

"So the 700 thousand deaf and hard of hearing individuals, it is so important to them to be able to lip read. Majority of them are hard of hearing and lip reading is what they depend upon," said Virginia Moore,

Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

According to Moore, the DHH community is finding this "new normal" to be even more of isolating and Stressful times, but there are ways you can help.

"Step away from a little further than six feet if you can and then just pull your masks down slightly so you can try to communicate. Write it down, use your iPhone for communication. Do what you can to try and make sure communication happens, don't just wave off the individual," said Moore.

Moore says they are working to come up with new ways to help service the DHH community so they can better communicate during this uncertain time while keeping them and everyone safe.

"We are working desperately to try and come up with something that is more usable and flexible for a mask. There is something called a clear mask that other states have purchased. It is going to cost funding so we are looking to where we can come up with and raise funding to try and purchases the clear masks," Moore added, "I have been working with the University of Louisville on the face shields, maybe having them go farther around to see if that would protect."

Moore reminds us that getting information about COVID-19 second hand like the DHH community is extremely terrifying. She tells us to remember to be compassionate and patient because we are all in this together.

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