A U.S. doctor sews clear masks to help hearing-impaired patients

As face masks become an essential part of everyday life amid the coronavirus pandemic, a North Carolina doctor sews and distributes clear masks to help her hearing-impaired patients.

Dr. Sheri Mello, an audiologist at the Raleigh Hearing and Tinnitus Centre, told NBC’s WRAL that wearing traditional face masks had made treatments with her hearing-impaired clients very difficult. She said those masks muffled her voice and blocked lip reading.

“The traffic noise was getting to be a bit much,” Mello said.

“We went out to service our clients who had hearing aids that weren’t working, but when we came up to them with the covered masks, they had difficulty hearing us.”

Seeking to help her patients and also keep everyone safe, Mello started researching sewing patterns for clear masks. With the help of clients and other volunteers, she has managed to produce and distribute clear face masks to anyone in need, free of charge.

“If you don’t have hearing loss, it’s very difficult to relate to, so you don’t realize the struggles sometimes that somebody might have in understanding what you’re saying,” a hearing-impaired client Doug Dieter has told WRAL.

“I think it’s a great way to help a lot of people out.”

Dr. Sheri Mello with her hearing-impaired client Doug Dieter
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