Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said local firms should explore the option of producing clear face masks to help those who lip read communicate with others.
Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong, who is partially deaf, said the recent example of an American company producing such masks should serve as an inspiration for a local business to do similar.
“Face masks can help protect someone spreading a virus. But for those who rely on lip-reading or facial cues to communicate, that can be a physical barrier,” she said.
“An Alaskan audiology and hearing company has now made clear equipment for health care staff to use, while still allowing those with a hearing disability and others who rely on lip-reading to communicate with people to see their mouth and understand what they are saying.
“I believe local businesses should look into doing similar. Being able to see someone’s face clearly is vital for those who have limited hearing to be able to communicate. It will also make things less frightening for children or others who are intimidated by masks. Equipment taking all that into account would help us do that, while still remaining safe.”