BENGALURU: While wearing a face mask has become the new normal, it has brought along its own set of challenges. In a bid to help the hearing impaired, who are facing difficulties in lip-reading, a city-based hearing clinic has come up with ‘clear speech masks’. Made of cloth and transparent polypropylene, which provides a clear portion over the mouth, they can also be customised with ties instead of elastic bands which may interfere with hearing aids.
“Since a major concern is fogging of the transparent portion, I have used transparent polymer which prevents fogging to a major extent. We want to make it easily accessible,” says MSJ Nayak, director, Nayak’s Hearing Clinic, who has come out with the product. The idea occurred to him when Nayak came across similar masks being used in other countries, and thought of making a pocket-friendly version.
Though he is giving the masks for free to those visiting his clinic, he says people can also make them at home with the right material, with each mask costing below `100. Urging manufacturers and NGOs to help produce them on a large scale, Nayak adds, “These masks will not only provide required visual cue during speech therapy and teaching but also enable kids and adults to see a smile and real emotions on people’s faces. It may also be required in schools and colleges to facilitate better communication.”