Deaf-,mute-friendly face mask designs developed - DOST

Two designs of protective face masks have been developed to cater to the needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs), especially those hearing and speech impaired, the Department of Science and technology (DOST) has disclosed.

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the designs were developed as agency’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) is committed to provide design assistance and testing services on Accessibility Protective Facemask or APF.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña (TOTO LOZANO/ Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

"Two designs were developed: one for the hard of hearing who is fitted with hearing aids, and the hearing whose lips need to be read by the hard-of-hearing who communicate through lip-reading.” he said in a report.

"These two protective face masks will come in a case holder with two pockets for the removable transparent screen and for the inner layer absorbent cloth spare as designed by the social enterprise,” he added.

He cited social enterprise Ikapitbisigmo’s efforts to collaborate and explore with the DOST-PTRI on the innovative approach that can contribute to address specific needs of hearing and speech impaired communities.

"This facemask initiative seeks to facilitate access to health services through the use of a recommended APF mask with a transparent feature for the use of health frontliners."

"This can contribute significantly to the full inclusion of clients/patients and facilitate better communication for both the medical front-liners and people living with hearing loss/impairment.”

During the Textile Stakeholders Conference in January this year, de la Peña cited that the PTRI has continued to provide technical and scientific advice in the continuing development of face mask and protective wear for community use.

He said the PTRI successfully mobilized the support of private-sector partners for its Quick Response Project on the Development and Production of ReWear Face Masks that paved way for the delivery of some 600,000 pieces of re-usable, washable and re-wearable masks to the national government agencies through the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).