Tamil Nadu Government has collaborated with mask makers for a pilot project in the state to assist people with hearing impairment amidst COVID-19 outbreak.
The masks aim to have a transparent polypropylene base that goes over the lips of the hard-of-hearing people since they can prefer to communicate through lip-reading.
It will act as a safety precaution for them while interacting with other people.
To make this pilot project successful, 81,000 masks will be distributed to around 13,500 individuals with disabilities. Their parents, kin, caregivers, classmates and teachers will also be given these masks.
“This is a pilot project with people roped in from Tiruppur,” said Johny Varghese, Director for the Welfare of the Differently Abled in the Tamil Nadu government.
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A Tiruppur-based mask manufacturer A. G. Padmanabhan who works with the state administration said, “When we were interacting with hearing-impaired people, we found it was difficult for them to communicate as they couldn’t read lips.“
He further added that some youths made transparent masks to help hearing-impaired people read the lips of other people while conversing.
A committee will be formed to observe the issue of fogging, and accordingly, the decision will be taken for the next model.
Any feedback on this will be given a thought by the authorities for further changes.
Moreover, Tamil Nadu becomes the first state to pilot transparent masks for persons with different abilities which enables lip reading for children, parents and their teachers.
If it becomes successful, this will be scaled up effectively across the state.