During this crisis, Hear Quebec has been raising awareness about the accessibility barriers people living with hearing loss have been facing. Hear Quebec celebrated National AccessAbility Week in June by highlighting the importance of clear face masks and shields.
In July, before face masks became mandatory, Katrina Tarondo, a board member, wrote to Mayor Valérie Plante and Premier Legault highlighting challenges people with hearing loss face when communicating with others wearing cloth masks.
The letter suggests alternatives to cloth masks and urges them to make clear masks and face shields accessible to people with hearing loss. “Clear masks and shields provide a better communication tool to people with hearing loss who rely mostly on lip reading and facial expressions,” says Heidy Wager, Executive Director of Hear Entendre Québec. “Now more than ever we need to work together to eliminate communication barriers.”
Hear Quebec has been raising funds through their Safe and Clear Campaign to purchase and distribute clear masks and shields.
Over the past three months, 1600 masks and shields have been distributed. Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, activities and events have become digital. This fall, online HEARTalks (workshops) will be held. There are also tutorials on how to use Google Meet and Zoom and how to access online speech reading courses. Bi-weekly video calls help members stay connected and improve mental health.
Hear Quebec (formerly known as CHIP) is Montreal’s only organization serving the English-speaking community with hearing loss. Our mission is to improve the wellbeing of individuals affected by hearing loss and to help prevent hearing loss in future generations.
Info on clear masks: email@example.com or visit hearhear.org/face-mask-shield/
Info on Hear Quebec: Contact Heidy Wager, Executive Director at 514-797-2447
or email firstname.lastname@example.org