Communication and COVID-19: The impact of masks on deaf and hard of hearing students
COVID-19 guidelines released by the Saint Louis County’s Department of Public Health relieve those who are hard-of-hearing and deaf from the requirement of wearing masks in public spaces. However, this guideline does little to help the needs of hard of hearing and deaf students, many of whom rely on lip-reading. The need for masks has impacted many hard-of-hearing and deaf students’ ability to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are three common terms that a member of the deaf and hard of the hearing community may choose to identify as. Deaf with a capital D relates to a person who relates strongly to the culture within the deaf community, sign language often being their first language. Deaf with a lowercase letter d is when a deaf person relates more closely to the speaking and hearing portion of the world and is less involved with deaf culture. The final term used is hard of hearing, used by those who have less serious hearing loss. Each student and faculty member within this community is unique in their experiences as a deaf, Deaf or hard of hearing individual. Here are their stories.