Left Menu
Development News Edition

Face masks leave Britain's deaf community struggling to communicate

The introduction of mandatory face masks in most enclosed spaces across Britain was designed to protect people during the pandemic but has made life very difficult for the deaf community. Face coverings prevent lip reading and hide facial expressions, making it virtually impossible for the 12 million people who are either deaf or suffering with hearing loss in Britain to communicate and forcing many to stay at home.

Reuters | Updated: 30-07-2020 14:57 IST | Created: 30-07-2020 14:51 IST
Face masks leave Britain's deaf community struggling to communicate
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The introduction of mandatory face masks in most enclosed spaces across Britain was designed to protect people during the pandemic but has made life very difficult for the deaf community.

Face coverings prevent lip reading and hide facial expressions, making it virtually impossible for the 12 million people who are either deaf or suffering with hearing loss in Britain to communicate and forcing many to stay at home. Mangai Sutharsan, director of Empowering Deaf Society, said she understood why masks were important to help counter the spread of COVID-19 but the introduction had increased her anxiety about going into public spaces.

"Personally I'm frightened to go to the shop and to mix where people are wearing masks," she told Reuters in sign language, translated into English by an interpreter. "People don't know I'm deaf so they'll be talking to me but I won't know it, or I won't understand them which is embarrassing. This is really stressful."

A survey in May for the Office for National Statistics showed that those with hearing problems were already less likely to leave their home during the pandemic and a charity supporting those with hearing loss say masks is making that worse. "Communication for many is virtually impossible and it's a huge challenge causing massive anxiety," Ayla Ozmen, head of research and policy at Action on Hearing Loss, told Reuters.

Those travelling with, or providing help to deaf people are exempt from wearing face coverings under the rules, and some manufacturers have begun making masks with clear plastic panels, but these are not yet widely available and they can steam up. (Writing by Kate Holton; editing by Philippa Fletcher)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Localised lockdowns widen as coronavirus cases rise in UK

The UK government on Friday further expanded localised lockdown measures in the northern parts of England as the number of coronavirus cases remain on an upward trajectory across the country. The tougher restrictions on meeting between diff...

South Africa to allow travel from all of Africa from Oct. 1

South Africas cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Friday that from Oct. 1 the country would allow travel to and from all countries in Africa.For countries outside Africa, the government will determine whether entr...

PMC Bank PMLA case: ED attaches 3 hotels in Delhi worth Rs 100 cr

The Enforcement Directorate ED has attached three hotels worth around Rs 100 crore in Delhi in connection with its money laundering probe in the PMC Bank fraud case, the central agency said on Friday. The three hotels have been identified b...

Gujarat: Three held with charas worth Rs 7.69 lakh in Kutch

Three men were arrested in Gujarats Kutch district and five kg of charas, part of dumped contraband which is regularly washing ashore along the coast, was seized from them on Friday, the police said. One of the accused had found five packet...

Give Feedback