Costume stitchers creating special face mask for the lip-reading community

Born deaf, Michael Conley of North Park said mask orders have made communicating with others very difficult

While the county’s face mask order may be a valuable tool for reducing the spread of COVID-19, it has had an unexpected negative impact on the hearing-impaired community, who can no longer read lips when they interact with masked employees at essential businesses.

Michael Conley was born deaf and relies on lip-reading to interact with the public as well as his colleagues and customers as membership services manager at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

“As soon as I heard that masks were going to be required, I knew I was in big trouble,” said Conley. “All I see is a face. I cannot make out facial gestures, which is a big part of understanding what a person is saying. Because I can’t hear, if people are speaking with a mask, I don’t even know they are speaking to me.”

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