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.”