A Girl Builds a Mouth-Visible Face Mask for the Deaf

Ashley Lawrence is a 21-year old college student who is going above and beyond her duty to help people. In this case, she’s working for those who are hard of hearing or deaf, but still need mask protection. While there is an N95 face mask shortage around the world anyways, Ashley was busy worrying that face masks can prevent those with hearing disabilities from communicating effectively – at a time when it might be more important than ever.

Ashley Lawrence - Mouth-Visible Face Mask
A Girl Builds a Mouth-Visible Face Mask for the Deaf

A Mask People Rely On

Most American Sign Language (ASL) speakers rely on lip-reading for grammar. With face masks covering people’s mouths, it can make it hard for them to communicate.

Lawrence attends Eastern Kentucky University where she studies education for the deaf and hard of hearing. She has been finishing off the semester at home and she has been utilizing her free time while quarantined to make face masks for those who speak sign language.

With help from her mom, Ashley began to sew the face masks with plastic windows over the mouth so that sign language speakers could still rely on lip-reading when they communicate.

Raising Money and Making a Difference

Lawrence has been shipping the face masks that she has made to dozens of hospitals and deaf individuals free of charge over the last few weeks. She even launched a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise funds for the shipping, handling, and material costs. However, after reaching her goal of $3,300 in only 2 days, she deactivated the page.

Lawrence Sewing a Mask
A Girl Builds a Mouth-Visible Face Mask for the Deaf

Originally, Lawrence has recruited volunteers to make the masks for deaf people within her community in Woodford County, Kentucky. She is now working on launching an official Facebook page and a website for her new DHH Mask Project as the demand for her masks is increasing.

Plans are in the works to post a DIY YouTube video on how to make the mask at home for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.