Sisters with the transparent masks

The Jewish Deaf Association (JDA) is distributing 2,000 transparent masks within the Jewish community to enable deaf people to communicate with their doctors, teachers, care workers, colleagues, family and friends during COVID-19.

The initiative has come about thanks to a £12,000 donation from The Locker Foundation, allowing JDA to supply a variety of clear masks to people with hearing loss and the organisations working with them.

JDA Chief Executive Sue Cipin said: “The use of face masks in COVID-19 has presented people with hearing loss with huge challenges, as it impossible for someone who can’t hear to see that you are speaking to them or to understand what you are saying.

“When one of our clients had it explained to her by handwritten note that she has cancer, I knew we had to find a way to break down this barrier.

“Now, thanks to the fantastic generosity of The Locker Foundation, anyone who has a hearing loss can carry clear masks with them and ask the person they need to chat with to wear one… and our client can understand what is being said to her at her chemo sessions.”

JDA has spent months searching the globe and working with UK manufacturers to develop clear masks, which all suit different purposes – from a mask that can be worn comfortably all day to a disposable one that can be used by key workers seeing lots of different people.

In addition to being given to JDA clients, masks have also already been distributed to:

· The Hatzola Jewish paramedic service for use when they are called out to an emergency for a patient with hearing loss.

· JFS Special Educational Needs (SEN) class so their deaf pupils can see what their teaching assistants are saying to them.

· Jewish Day Schools with deaf pupils to enable them to chat with friends when they need to wear masks in the corridors.

· Care workers looking after people with hearing loss in their own homes.

Malcolm Carter and Susie Segal, Trustees of The Locker Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to support such an innovative and important project for the people within our community who have hearing loss.”

If you would like transparent masks for your organisation, please contact Olimpia at JDA on 020 8446 0502 or email olimpia@jdeaf.org.uk.