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when the compulsory mask becomes a disadvantage for deaf people

The compulsory mask is spreading in France and Jean Castex wants to extend it in the public space and impose it in companies. But what about when you are deaf and the mask becomes a brake in your life to communicate?

The announcements of the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, during a trip to the Montpellier University Hospital, are debated. He indeed mentioned the possibility of compulsory wearing of a mask in business, as well as a generalization of the mask outdoors. News that can only please some infectious disease specialists, who are worried about transmission of the virus in the air.

A question arises. How to cope with your disability and respect health rules? First of all, you should know that with the mandatory wearing of a mask in all enclosed places since July 20, a derogation exists for people whose disability makes the mask difficult to bear. Two conditions come into play, according to the State Secretariat responsible for people with disabilities.

"It will be necessary for people to bring a medical certificate justifying their disability and the inability to wear the mask."

"The disabled person will also be required to take all possible health precautions (wearing, if possible, a visor, respecting other barrier gestures, namely staying more than one meter from the other, not touching their face. and eyes, wash your hands very often, greet without touching people, cough or sneeze into your elbow, use a tissue and throw it away). "

More specifically, for a deaf and hard of hearing person, the mask can become a communication barrier. Indeed, with a hidden mouth, it becomes difficult to read lips, a real isolation therefore occurs.

Gaëlle, 39, in charge of personnel management in Paris, saw this situation.

"At first I thought to myself that it was for a short time, that it was not going to last forever. And that only closed places were concerned such as the metro, shops … But now I see that the mask is becoming mandatory everywhere. I am deaf, hearing impaired, and have always used lip reading to understand others so lip reading is part of my life! Some are kind enough to take off their masks when I tell them that I am deaf and that I need to read lips … Unfortunately not all of them do and I get to ask my oldest son to translate me during different outings.", she explains to us.

Regarding the question: according to you, are you forgotten, in practical terms? Gaëlle replies that "many associations have mobilized for deaf and hard of hearing people by manufacturing transparent masks, but to date, they are not yet really marketed …. What the company has not understood, c is that we are not the only ones who need these masks, but all the people who talk to us about you …. "

"Wearing a mask all day at work is a real worry! You are a bit 'isolated" since you can't hear. I ask my colleagues all the time to translate me, so imagine with the masks, we will be completely cut off from the world … So far I am teleworking, I hope the situation will improve so as not to impose the mask on us, I went back to the office for a day before I left on vacation, we respected the safety distances and we spoke to each other at 1 meter … ", explains the Parisian." I know that the mask is necessary to protect ourselves and ourselves, afterwards, there are always solutions: wearing a visor for example. On our side, we can learn sign language (the basics), write on a piece of paper, use the mobile phone via voice message … But if you can remove the mask, it's even better because as I tell you, since when I was born I always used lip reading, so lip reading is vital for me, "she concludes.

Transparent masks

According to Kristof Colliot, communications manager for the Association for the Inclusion of Disabled People (APRJSO), interviewed by La Nouvelle République (NR), "the first transparent masks tested worked poorly because they pressed on the lips and did not allow easy reading ".

To deal with this problem, in mid-July, transparent masks were approved by the General Directorate of the Armed Forces and are now marketed. But few people use them. However, "the pathology code used in accordance with the CNSA's request does not cover all the pathologies of deafness ", explains the Regional Health Agency to NR. The latter adds that "overall, the deaf and hard of hearing population is a population that does not manifest itself much ".

Baby girl rejected from mini vacation club because of her disability

Video by Clara Poudevigne