Traditional face masks interfere with lip reading and transmission of sign language "facial grammar," disrupting communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, being unable to see facial expressions is a barrier to communication for many people: teachers, health professionals, performers, police, and more.
Clear masks -- those with a transparent window in front -- are being sought by many. Nationwide, volunteer sewists have produced and donated thousands of cloth masks, easing the PPE crisis. Together let's shift mask culture to clear.
Virtual Sewing Fest
Sewists from around the world are uniting on Zoom to make and donate clear masks at the Virtual Sewing Fest.
On Thursday, September 24th, the first-ever Virtual Sewing Fest will be held. It's to be a fun event, during which people will sew clear masks, listen to music, and hear a few brief presentations related to clear masks and about the organizations participating in the event.
The goal is to recruit as many volunteers as possible to continue making clear masks after the event and to provide a distribution network for the masks they produce.
Please drop in when you can. The event will go on at least three hours after start time.
This clear mask has a large window, a nose wire and elasticized chin cup for good fit, plus attachment for various wearing options (ear loops, headband, ties, etc.)
Sew it yourself from your own materials, or buy a kit with just the right amount of all materials.
Adam Clear Mask
Looking for a no-sew option? With these simple materials, you can make your own clear mask in just minutes.
Soft foam at nose and chin supports a very large clear panel. Simple elastic ear loops make for easy on and off. When not being worn, the mask is very flat, making it friendly to store or transport.
If you need a mask NOW
Many efforts are underway to make clear masks available at little or no cost to those with acute need, such as the Virtual Sewing Fest (above). The need is great, though, and these efforts will struggle to keep up.
The resources listed below are for those who are experiencing acute need and are able to obtain clear masks on their own, either by purchasing therm or making them themselves.
Where to buy clear masks
Clear masks are available for purchase from an increasing number of vendors. There's a spectrum of designs, prices, size ranges, degrees of protection, and, perhaps, quality of construction.
The sources listed here are an un-curated list gleaned from internet searches and leads that have reached us from a variety of sources. The list cannot be comprehensive, but if you have personal experience with any such vendor, please share it with us by email.
The Adaptive Design Association (ADA) has no connection, financial or otherwise, with any of these vendors and has not evaluated their products. Please be a careful consumer in evaluating their claims, and their trustworthiness. Similarly, if you are a vendor who wishes to be added to, or dropped from, this list, please contact us.
Make your own masks
If you can sew, or even if you can't, there are many options available for making clear masks at home, mostly with inexpensive, easy-to-obtain materials. When you do it yourself, you can choose the combination of features you want, and exercise your creative instincts.
Beyond the two designs shown above, there are dozens of free designs available, most with detailed instructions in print or video format.