Back in May, as we were hearing about and witnessing the issues of facemasks on those with hearing loss, I wrote about great ‘low-tech’ solutions for a pair of those issues. The one with the most profound impact was undoubtedly transparent facemasks.
To improve overall communication, even/especially for those using amplification (i.e. hearing aids), hearing impaired individuals depend on visual cues to supplement the auditory information they receive. Many of the most important (higher frequency) sounds have distinct visual cues and individuals are often unaware of how much they depend on those and other visual cues…until they’re gone.
Transparent facemasks to the rescue!
Ingenious individuals around the world (BBC, CTV) have been rising to the occasion. Even before Covid-19, several entrepreneurs with hearing loss were inspired by their own difficult experiences dealing with trying to understand speech in a medical setting. So they went about creating a solution. And their prescience couldn’t have been more timely.
ClearMask was recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate after they received FDA authorization for their “Medical-Grade” version in August. We were introduced to ClearMask back in April through Entheos Audiology Cooperative, a group of passionate, like-minded, patient-centered private practice Audiologists emphasizing best practices and giving back that we are honored to belong to. The parents of one of the co-founders/creators of ClearMask volunteer for Entheos’s non-profit arm, Hearing the Call, whose mission is “Bringing hope and healing to the hearing impaired locally and globally.”
We were quick to realize the importance and benefits of ClearMask and ordered ours early on in the pandemic. Since we have been using them, we have heard universally positive feedback from our patients and their family & friends. So much so that after our patients and their loved ones began asking for them, we made a decision to offer them to those in need in our community.
But beyond the obvious communication benefits, even just seeing a smile has been therapeutic for our patients!