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Masks an issue for the deaf – NationNews Barbados — nationnews.com


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Sheria Brathwaite

Christopher Gilkes, PRO of the Barbados Council for the Disabled. (FILE)

The Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) says face masks have created communication barriers for the deaf community.

Public relations officer Christopher Gilkes told the Saturday Sun yesterday that during the past two years, it had been hard for deaf people to conduct business at various establishments because they could not understand staff.

He said it was not common for businesses to have a worker who could do sign language and in most cases, deaf people relied on reading lips.

“We are in a situation where everyone is required to wear a mask because of the COVID-19 virus, and one of the main ways for them [deaf people] to communicate is by reading lips. We observed that this has become a challenge and we need some form of awareness about this issue for sure,” he said.

“This is a major communication barrier and not many places have employees who know sign language. There are masks with a clear (transparent) strip that could be used so when people talk, the deaf are able to read their lips.” (SB)

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