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Masks and Face Shields

CHHA-BC members are attempting to stay informed about new developments in masks and face shields. Due to the difficulties in understanding and being understood caused by wider mask usage there is a heightened awareness of various new products. While CHHA-BC does not endorse a particular type of mask or face shield we have been approached by manufacturers.

If you are interested in discussing this subject please do not hesitate to call the office (604.423.3247 or toll free 866.888.2442). Thank you.

Here is a listing of four products that have recently come to our attention. CHHA-BC members should treat this list as a work in progress. Items listed here are not necessarily endorsed by CHHA-BC but are listed purely for information.

  1. Technomask: www.technomask.ca or www.technomask.ch
  2. Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility in partnership with Tinkerine: Click here (Note: Discount offer to CHHA-BC members)
  3. Packright Shield
  4. CHHA National www.chha.ca in partnership with Como Foundation Como Foundation (Note: Discount offer to CHHA members)

CHHA-BC will continue to receive updates from various manufacturers and publish basic information to assist members in their consumer research.

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Resources on Clear Face Masks

“Communication Accessibility in Isolation: The Invisible Factor” A Canadian consortium working with manufacturers in Canada to produce made-in-Canada clear face masks. Published in CHHA BC’s Hearing Loop
magazine CHHA-BC Newsletter page

Face Shields essential for communication and Tinkerine Face shields, pages 7 and 8 , June issue of the CHHA-BC Loop publication. CHHA-BC Newsletter page

“ASHA Urges CDC to Emphasize Need for Clear Face Masks for the Hearing Impaired.” (The Hearing Review article from June 9, 2020) Click
here. ASHA letter can be found here

The Communicator (See-Through Surgical Mask): This mask costs $60 US for a box of 40. Currently, out of stock but planning to have more available in July. It is a see-through medical mask approved by the FDA and started being used in hospitals in 2017. https://safenclear.com/ Note: an interim order for their importation to Canada has been approved but SAC is currently investigating if these marks meet surgical grade standards for protection against droplets due to a disclaimer on the Clearmask LLC website they have the following disclaimer:
“DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE CLEARMASK™ IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR USE IN HOSPITALS AND BY HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS WITHOUT OBJECTION FROM THE FDA. THE CLEARMASK™ IS A FACE MASK THAT MAY BE USED WHEN FDA -CLEARED MASKS ARE UNAVAILABLE. PER THE FDA, USE OF THESE MASKS IN A SURGICAL SETTING, OR WHERE SIGNIFICANT EXPOS URE TO LIQUID BODILY OR OTHER HAZARDOUS FLUIDS MAY BE EXPECTED, IS NOT RECOMMENDED.”

HMCARE has developed a transparent mask in Switzerland and the company plans to start selling them in 2021 directly to medical professionals. It is planning to pursue European certification and eventually will pursue FDA approval. https://hmcare.ch/. Or click here Also see more information in Popular Mechanics, June 10, 2020. Click here

COVID-19 ADVOCACY BY CHHA BC

As restrictions are slowly being eased in our province, two strategies for dealing with COVID-19 remain, namely, the use of face masks and social distancing. Both strategies pose difficulties for hard of hearing persons who need to see another person’s face and to be in close proximity to understand them.  CHHA BC has written to British Columbia’s health authorities to advise of the challenges and to recommended solutions including the use of clear face masks and/or face shields. As well we have issued a press release to the media. We have also raised the issue of the need for use of clear masks with the BC Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction during briefings with the disability community.

We are in a new era that has altered usual ways of doing things and need an increased understanding of our challenges and solutions to address them. For links to our releases please click here

Ruth Warick

President, CHHA BC