Quebecer Campaigns For Lip Reading Masks

By Ben Hamill - September 06 2020
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Quebecer Campaigns For Lip Reading Masks

Face masks, though necessary and potentially lifesaving, aren’t exactly bags full of fun to wear. They tend to be hot and stifling, have been known to slide all over the show when not correctly sized, and even cause our specs to become fogged over, leaving us practically unable to see for however long it takes to remedy the situation.

But everyday complaints aside, there are some people who are experiencing way more serious challenges caused by the mandatory wearing of protective face coverings, or masks. Deaf people, for example, heavily rely on lip reading in order to communicate and even just to interact with others. And since masks typically cover our mouths, deaf people are finding it increasingly more difficult to function in a normal way in their everyday comings and goings.

Which is exactly why Quebec artist and popular media personality Rosalie Taillefer-Simard has taken it upon herself to make masks more friendly all round.

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Driven By Human Ignorance

Herself hard of hearing, Taillefer-Simard is more aware of the challenges faced by deaf people than most hearing-abled people. Which is why she’s now taken to promoting the manufacturing and wearing of masks fitted with a clear plastic panel – obviously positioned so as to cover the mouth of the wearer.

But the motivation behind her drive to educate others about the lip reading-friendly attire isn’t solely because of her being hard of hearing and a lip-reader herself. In a video posted to social media she tells a rather shocking story of how she recently got thrown out of a hardware store for not having at the time worn a more “conventional” mask.

The incident in question, the media personality can be heard saying the video, is just one example of those things that members of the deaf community experience as being exceptionally confusing.

Raising Deaf Awareness

Following the hardware store incident and resulting video, she has now teamed up with designer Jean Airoldi to design masks that include clear panelling so as to better accommodate member of the deaf community relying on the reading of lips to communicate. The pair also recently met with Quebec Premier Francois Legault to talk about the challenges faced by the deaf community and to raise awareness about several issues.

And since Rosalie Taillefer-Simard is a household name to so many Quebecers, says Deaf advocacy group Audition Quebec president Jeanne Choquette, her explaining to the hearing those challenges every day faced by the Deaf and hard of hearing, is proving to be of immeasurable value.

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