Coronavirus: Kentucky college student creates face mask for deaf, hard of hearing

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. — Kentucky college student has created face masks specially designed for the deaf and hard of hearing -- and is giving them away to those who need one.

>> Read more trending news

Ashley Lawrence, a senior studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing at Eastern Kentucky University, is at home finishing up school because of the coronavirus.

"I felt like there was a huge population that was being looked over," Lawrence told WLEX. "We're all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of. So, I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication."

>> Coronavirus: How to properly use masks and gloves

Lawrence, 21, got to work with the help of her mother and some old bed sheets. The specially designed mask features a visible area around the mouth and loops so people with hearing aids or cochlear implants can wear them, WLEX reported.

"For anyone who uses speech reading, lip reading, anybody like that," Lawrence said about the purpose of the masks. "And people who are profoundly deaf who use ASL as their primary mode of communication. ASL is very big on facial expressions and it is part of the grammar,” Lawrence told WLEX. “If half of that is gone because you're wearing a mask then half of what you're saying is being missed, so even if it's not physically talking and just using ASL, then you need to have that kind of access."

She has made dozens of masks in just a couple of days and is giving them away for free to those who need them.

>> Coronavirus: Minnesota trooper issues N95 masks to speeding doctor instead of ticket

"If you need them, then you need them and I don't think that you should have to pay for them," Lawrence told WLEX. "So we are sending them out for free whenever we have people asking for them and if they're foreign, then maybe we'll charge shipping, but other than that they're completely free."

She has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for costs associated with making and distributing the masks.

Comments on this article