City of Antwerp provides 5,000 face masks with transparent mouth covering for the hard of hearing

The City of Antwerp is providing 5,000 face covering masks with a special transparent mouth covering for people with hearing difficulties and their families. Normal face covering masks prevent those that are deaf or have limited hearing from being able to lip read and as such have an adverse impact on their quality of life. The Antwerp City Alderman responsible for equal opportunities Karim Bachar (socialist) told VRT Radio 2 that “It is important that people with limited hearing are able to communicate with those around them”. 

With face coverings being mandatory on public transport, in public ally accessible buildings such as shops and in streets where social distancing cannot be maintained, deaf people and those with limited hearing have difficulty in communicating as they are unable to lip read. The City of Antwerp hopes to help alleviate this problem by providing a total of 5,000 specially adapted masks.

Alderman Karim Bachar told the VRT that "It is important that people with limited hearing are able to communicate to the full with those around them. Lip reading allows them to do this”.  

In the first instance the masks will be distributed via organisations that work with people that are deaf or have limited hearing.   "This is an initial purchase. We will monitor the situation and if more masks are needed, we will provide them”, Mr Bachar added.

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