A different kind of mask for interpreters, the deaf and hard of hearing

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Masking up, while still showing your smile, it’s nearly impossible.

Donice Stewart is making those masks utilizing clear vinyl to ensure those in the deaf and hard of hearing community are able to communicate with others. She uses soap on the clear part so it doesn’t fog up.

“Teachers, speech therapists, pathologists, those hard of hearing, the list is so long,” said Stewart, “I have people calling saying we need these you know with older adults they need to see the mouth.”

Stewart works with the Tennessee Relay Service, providing communication access to those with speech disabilities, the deaf or hard of hearing. Her youngest daughter lost her hearing when she was three, prompting Stewart to learn how to sign.

“​As hearing people, we rely on expressions and body language more than the words if you’re deaf and use ASL as communication the language is in the face.”

Worried about the virus getting in and out of the mask, Stewart started treating the seam with fabric repair. She does note that these masks are not meant for medical professionals. They act like cloth masks, which are utilized to protect others.

If you would like a mask, contact Stewart on her Facebook page, Donice Art. She asks for $15 for those willing to pay, she donates to others. So far, she’s made about 50 masks.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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