Justine Bate just wanted a way to communicate with her daughter, who is also deaf. She has since brought the deaf community together and even helped folks in care homes.
A deaf mother has gone viral for her inventive face masks that feature a plastic window. Justine Bate, 42, wanted a way for her to be able to continue lip reading while still following guidelines from medical experts. Therefore, she came up with the ingenious masks. Ever since she first posted about her invention, she has been flooded with requests from others who want their own masks. Justine first created the masks to help her and her daughter Teona, 10, who is also deaf. Now, her masks are helping dozens of other folks who are deaf, The Daily Mail reports.
Initially, Justine, who works as a graphic designer, was worried that her daughter would not be able to socialize with her friends at school. As lip reading is a fundamental part of how those who are hard of hearing communicate, wearing a mask can make socializing quite challenging. So, in order to make sure Teona would still be able to lip-read, the mother developed homemade masks with plastic coverings over the mouth area. This way, she and her 10-year-old could still communicate while staying safe. Now, husband Carl Bate also wears one of the DIY masks at home to make communicating faster and easier.
Carl isn't the only one who prefers these masks over regular ones. Justine posted about her invention on Facebook, following which she received dozens of requests from care homes as well as others in the deaf community. Justine makes the masks using her sewing machine in her loft (unfortunately, this does mean that they are not of PPE quality). The family sells one mask for £5.99 (just over $7), including packaging and shipping. Since the mom first shared her creation online on May 27, she has sold 42 masks. However, they aren't just helping those who are deaf. Her husband shared, "We can't make them quickly enough for what people need. From the messages, we are getting a lot of people from care homes - people who have got dementia and children who have got certain types of autism where they are actually scared of people with this full face mask on. It is easier as they do not get scared."
While some may believe the masks look silly, they do benefit several folks. "They look a bit different but it is the interests of the patient that is important," Carl pointed out. "You can look stupid but as long as your patient is feeling calm it is a benefit for that person. It was not to do with making money it was to do with doing something for our daughter for making her life easier." Justine was born deaf; both her parents were also deaf. Though she knows sign language, she only started learning at the age of 16. She revealed that her masks have brought the deaf community together. Carl explained, "The deaf community can be quite a hard place to socialize. It does bring a lot of deaf people together. The amount of people who have come up to her and asked for these masks is quite overwhelming. She's loving the fact that she's helping others make a better quality of life in this situation."