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South Devon woman makes over 100 clear face masks to help "intimidated" deaf people

Claire said she has been "amazed" at the response to her work.

A South Devon resident has made more than 100 clear face masks, to help deaf people communicate during the pandemic.

Claire Cross, 45 and from Cranbrook, had already been making standard masks for friends in the area.

However, there are growing fears that these leave people who are hard-of-hearing at risk of isolation.

She told us: "The ordinary masks - they cover up pretty much the whole of the face.

"So people that rely on lip-reading can't see the lips, but also they can't see the facial expressions, which really does lead to a breakdown in communication for lots and lots of people".

With face coverings currently compulsory on public transport across England and Scotland, the furloughed pub worker is now distributing her new offerings across the country.

Claire Cross told The Breeze who will benefit from her special designs.

The National Deaf Children's Society has called-on the government to make clear masks more widely available, saying a community of 12 million deaf people are relying on them.

Ian Noon - Head of Policy at the charity - said: "Some (deaf people) have already told us they’re less keen to leave the house and are avoiding public transport altogether, even though they need it to get to work.

Claire said she wanted to give deaf people - at risk of loneliness - their "right" to communicate.

“Parents are saying their deaf children are intimidated by social interactions and more withdrawn because they can’t understand what’s being said to them when they go out".

He also told The Breeze how people can help those reliant on lip-reading: "When wearing a mask or covering, members of the public can make things easier by using gestures, writing things down or just asking a deaf person how they’d like to communicate".

Requests for a clear mask can be made via the Cranbrook Scrubbers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2893768967516406

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