The B.C.government has stated that surgical and cloth masks are an important means of slowing the spread of COVD-19. However, for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, these masks restrict their way of life.
In sign language, facial expressions serve as cues for grammar and tone. What's more, lip reading is often vital to both Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals to supplement auditory understanding. As such, wearing a cloth mask prevents them from seeing a full range of facial expression, which includes reading lips.
To combat this, Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility, a non-profit and a government designated essential service, has created an alternative form of protection. In lieu of face masks, they are implementing 3D printed face shields into their day-to-day operations that often require in-person interactions.
Produced by Tinkerine, a 3D printing studio, these face shields will allow Wavefront Centre’s staff and clients, "to safely interact while allowing the Deaf and Hard of hearing community to properly communicate using lip reading and facial expressions."
Right now, Wavefront Centre reports that they have a modest amount of personal protective equipement. As a registered charity, Wavefront Centre is asking the general public to donate face shields to help support its vulnerable community.
In partnership with Tinkerine, those that want to give a hand can do so by:
- Buying a face shield and donating it directly to Wavefront Centre via tinkerine.com/wavefrontcentre
- Buying a face shield for the vulnerable in their community
- Tinkerine will donate 20% of all proceeds will also benefit Wavefront Centre to support its essential programs
Wavefront Centre cares for, connects with and advocates on behalf of British Columbians to reduce communication barriers. They are a trusted partner in the Deaf, the DeafBlind, the Late Deafened, the Oral Deaf, the Hard of Hearing and the Hearing communities.
Based in Vancouver, the centre is the only non-profit of its kind in Western Canada. Its mission is to, "serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, their families and the community by delivering innovative programs, products and solutions to achieve full communication accessibility."
Find out more information HERE.