42-year-old Justine Bate first created two masks with a plastic window placed over the mother to help her 10-year-old daughter and herself communicate with each other.
A mother, who is deaf, was flooded with hundreds of orders from care homes after she designed a mask that specifically caters to people who need to read lips. 42-year-old Justine Bate first created two masks with a plastic window placed over them to help her 10-year-old daughter and herself communicate with each other. Her daughter Teona is also deaf, and Bate was worried that she wouldn't be able to socialize with her school friends if they weren't able to see her mouth and read her lips. This inspired the graphic designer to come up with this unique solution, reports Daily Mail. Now, even her husband, 50-year-old Carl Bate, wears one.
According to the outlet, it was Carl who shared his wife's unique solution to the problem faced by the deaf and hard of hearing community amid the pandemic. Bate, who has been deaf since birth, was born to parents who were deaf too. She was 16 when she first began learning sign language and knows the significance of having one's lips visible. Carl revealed that the idea of these masks had nothing to do with making money, but to help their daughter. "It was not to do with making money it was to do with doing something for our daughter for making her life easier," he expressed. As people learned about this mask, they began placing orders for the same. Working on her sewing machine in the loft, Bate has already sewn and sold 42 make as of May 27. Each of these masks is priced at £5.99, which includes postage and packaging charges.
Speaking about the enormous demand, the manchester resident, Carl, said, "We can't make them quickly enough for what people need." Sharing how important these semi-transparent masks are to people, he continued, "From the messages, we are getting a lot of people from care homes—people who have got dementia and children who have got certain types of autism where they are actually scared of people with this full face mask on. It is easier as they do not get scared." Furthermore, he explained how some of these requests were from carers working in homes, who didn't want their patients to be sacred.
"A lot of messages are from people with carers that work with care homes that want these masks where they can actually see the lips so it is not scary," he said. "They look a bit different but it is the interests of the patient that is important. You can look stupid but as long as your patient is feeling calm it is a benefit for that person." Explaining the process of creating the perfect mask, Carl said that they had tried many methods and finally came across the most effective one. "She needed something that is easily going to be able to stitch because the plastic is stitched into the fabric. The plastic is stitched into the fabric and it needed to be something that's not going to be too thick that it's not going to blur the lips when lip-reading with condensation," he continued.
"Somebody mentioned that if you rub household soap on it then rub it off with a dry cloth it doesn't condensate. A few people have messaged asking if we are going to put a filter in but that's impossible with the clear plastic—you are defeating the object of the plastic," said Carl, revealing that the mask is not "PPE quality" as no filter is attached to it, but explained how people have been okay with that. "She's a bit apprehensive but she's been honest with people that it's not PPE quality as there is no filter. Even people from the care homes said they are not bothered because of the ability to communicate with disabled people in an easier way."
The pair said that they were overwhelmed by the reaction they received for their face masks but also noted that it helped bring the dead community together. "It's quite overwhelming but she's loving it. The deaf community can be quite a hard place to socialize. It does bring a lot of deaf people together," shared Carl. "The amount of people who have come up to her and asked for these masks is quite overwhelming. She's loving the fact that she's helping others make a better quality of life in this situation." Carl shared that they are trying to speed up the process by finding the right rhythm to meet the demand.