“I struggle to hear people as I’m partially deaf and wearing hearing aids. Not seeing people’s mouths makes it more difficult.”
– Mandy, Gloucestershire
The use of face masks is the 3rd biggest challenge faced by people who are deaf or living with hearing loss in the UK, according to a recent survey.
– Sign Health
“I have autism and so it takes me a few seconds to actually hear and understand people. This is much harder when they’re wearing a mask.”
“I also find it very difficult understanding people’s facial expressions and usually rely on their mouth (to look for a smile), which is now impossible.”
– Nicole, Gloucestershire
About 1 person in 100 is on the autism spectrum, which equates to 8,500 people in Gloucestershire, including 1, 200 children.
– Gloucestershire Autism Support
“I had an auditory processing problem (invisible to most people) and rely extensively on lip reading. I find masks a significant barrier to communication …”
“… I also find they exclude the parts of the face required to read emotion and therefore make context and early emotional signals more difficult to understand.”
– Gloucestershire resident
“My physical disability means that I don’t speak as clearly as other people. People struggle to understand me and ask me to repeat myself a lot more when the can’t see my mouth…”
“… This makes me feel more disabled and conscious of my speech in public.”
– Vicci, Gloucestershire
In the Our Changing World report, isolation was identified as a key challenge for disabled people and people with mental health challenges in Gloucestershire during lockdown.
– Barnwood Trust
“Living in a largely masked community is like being in a country where you can’t understand the language.”
– Sarah R, Gloucestershire
There are 4.2 million people in the UK who use a main language other than English.
– Office for National Statistics
“I’ve had difficulties understanding people with a mask on, and them me, so much of how we communicate is through lip reading, I didn’t realise!”
– Sarah H, Gloucestershire
1 in 6 people live with some level of hearing loss, and most of these people rely on facial expressions and lip reading to communicate.
– Gloucestershire Deaf Association
“I’m frustrated, as I cannot communicate with my granny who relies on sign language and lip reading and she can’t read lips with masks…”
“… She has felt so alone, my granny refuses to leave the house and it’s so damaging to see her struggle so much and be so isolated and alone with covid.”
– Rhona, Gloucestershire
In a recent survey of older people in Gloucestershire, 33% reported feeling isolated and just over half said their enjoyment of life has decreased during the pandemic.
– Age UK Gloucestershire