At Signal, we recognise that the wearing of opaque face coverings can cause a great deal of stress and communication issues for members of the Deaf community, people with hearing loss and lip readers. We also recognise that face coverings are mandatory across many settings as a way of preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Therefore, Signal endorses the use of face masks, coverings and visors, preferably the use of transparent masks or visors where possible.
No matter what face covering is chosen, communication barriers will remain, such as the muffling of sound. We therefore encourage the use of good communication techniques.
Signal also acknowledges that there has been a lack of inclusivity and accessibility regarding the information, guidelines and response from governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. People with hearing loss and the Deaf community have not been adequately considered during policy decision making. We therefore want to encourage key policy makers, organisations and leaders to include these communities in their future responses.
We are always looking for donations to support our work with d/Deaf communities and people with hearing loss across the United Kingdom, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambira. Every single donation we receive will help to support ongoing project in these communities.
If you would like to donate to our “Make Communication Clear” campaign, please click here.
As part of our goal to Make Communication Clear for everyone, we have created some tips to help Make Communication Clear. You can find an electronic copy of our “Make Communication Clear” flyer here.
If you would like some colour printed versions of this flyer for your organisation, community or project, please do get in touch with email@example.com quoting with the subject “Make Communication Clear Flyer Request”.
Where can I buy a clear face covering?
Below you can find a selection of clear face coverings that are available to buy in the UK. These possible options are from our own research and pages that have been shared with us. They are not recommended by Signal, but are instead suggestions.
This list is not exhaustive, so if you know of a supplier you think Signal should add to our list, please do email the name and a link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Bargains (in store and online)
Amazon has a selection of face shields:
eBay also have a lot of different face shields to choose from:
*currently out of stock
One popular option is the new ClearMask™. Unfortunately, this is yet to be available to but in the UK as standard, although they say:
“We may be able to ship outside the United States based on specific destinations and quantities. Please fill out our Contact Form and select “I am located outside the United States and would like to place an order.” https://buy.theclearmask.com/
If you are struggling with communication, you can always try to use a speech-to-text application. There are lots of speech-to-text applications available on Android and Apple mobile phones as well as online. Here are just a few suggestions to try…
Otter.ai – This application is available and free to download Apple(iOS) and Android up to 600 minutes of transcribing.
TextHear – This is a voice recognition application from Geemarc with versions for both Android and Apple(iOS) devices. The Android version is completely free to use, while the Apple version requires payment for blocks of minutes.
LiveTranscribe – Available online and through Android phones, this speech to text accessibility application is provided by Google.
Ava – The Ava Live Captioning application allows for group conversations, as more than one phone can be added into a conversation mode.
Sound Amplification Apps
Chatable – This application reproduces a person’s voice in a louder and clearer way, and can be used to amplify a device like your television while removing background noise.