Clear face masks help Indonesia’s hearing impaired amid COVID-19

Transparent face masks are helping Indonesia’s hearing impaired to communicate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lip reading has become harder for the hearing impaired when people started wearing face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But one Indonesian couple found the perfect solution: Transparent face masks to help keep communication open between the hearing impaired and hearing abled.

Faizah Badaruddin and her husband used to sew cushions, bedsheets and curtains for customers in Makassar on Sulawesi island. But when orders dried up, they looked up online tutorials to work out how to produce face masks for the hearing impaired. 

“I met a person who could hear and wore a mask and they spoke to me but I found it hard to understand what they were talking about,” Faiza explains.

“Then I thought, maybe I can create masks for myself – I began cutting the materials and putting the transparent part over the mouth area.”

Since launching their business in April, they have been producing as many as two dozen masks a day which are available in all sizes.

They sell for between 10,000-15,000 rupiah ($0.68-1.01) each.

“This mask can be worn by both people who can hear and those who can’t hear,” Faiza says. “So we can see your lips when speaking and people who are hard of hearing can communicate.”

This report was edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Natalia Faisal.