Transparent masks are the solution found by the Indonesian Dwi Rahayu to help deaf-mutes communicate with each other and with others without having to lift the mask to be able to read lips and thus expose themselves to the coronavirus.
Dwi, who is deaf-mute and used to work as a seamstress, explains to Efe that she noticed the problem with the masks when she went to the hospital and had trouble communicating with the doctors because she couldn’t read their lips.
“I went to the hospital to medicate myself, but the doctors did not want to remove their masks (to communicate),” the Indonesian woman told Efe at the headquarters of the Movement for the Well-being of the Deaf-mute of Indonesia (Gerkatin) in Sleman, a municipality in the region from Yogyakarta, on the island of Java.
The only way to communicate was by exchanging papers with written sentences.
“It was difficult for me (to communicate with the doctors), so I had the idea of making a transparent mask,” adds Dwi, who found on Facebook several models that inspired him to make masks with cotton cloth and clear plastic mica so that lips were visible.
The first difficulty was that the plastic fogged up with my breath.
“Because the design was not curved and fog was created. So I designed another model that does not stick to the mouth (plastic) and does not cause fog,” adds the entrepreneur, who produces about 12 masks a day together with her husband.
Both deliver the masks for free to Gerkatin members, while the rest are sold for Rs 15,000 (one dollar or 0.90 euros), with orders from different cities in Java and even the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.
“My deaf friends are happy because they can communicate despite wearing a mask,” he says.
Dwi hopes that doctors and nurses will also start putting on transparent masks so that deaf-mutes can lip-read and communicate and that Indonesian authorities help him produce more.
In Indonesia, the new coronavirus has caused more than 14,000 detected cases and more than 1,000 deaths to date.