LEI designs reusable transparent anti-COVID-19 face mask to promote barrier-free communication for people with hearing loss

Invited by The Hong Kong Society for the Deaf, the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI) recently designed a transparent ASTM Level 3 face mask based on the needs of hearing-impaired people, and its fully transparent and anti-reflective design makes lip-reading easier.


Project leader Dr Albert Ko Wing-yin, Director of the LEI said that most transparent face masks available fail to meet protection standards, and that semi-transparent face masks with anti-pathogen properties reflect and fog up. Also, the transparent surface area is not large enough to reduce communication challenges of the hearing-impaired. “The fully transparent face mask designed by LU adopts an innovative humanitarian approach. Inspired by stealth fighter jets, the transparent face mask is combined with the use of polygon design, flat surfaces and sharp edges to make light refract, so as to reduce unwanted glare significantly. With its fully transparent design, users’ lips and facial expressions are visible. In addition, the edge of the mask is made of soft materials that prevent it from moving around while the wearer is speaking, and it fits close to the face,” said Dr Ko.


Photo: (From left) Chen Mei-ling, service coordinator and registered social worker of The Hong Kong Society for the Deaf, Dr Albert Ko Wing-yin, Director of LEI, and Sarah Lee, hearing-impaired person, introduce the transparent face mask to journalists.


The transparent face mask is easier to breath in than a general use surgical mask, because an additional H13 high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which blocks up to 99.95 per cent of viruses and meets ASTM Level 3 standards according to reports from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is in the bottom. Its anti-viral coating protects against viruses for up to eight months, and the inner layer is designed with long-lasting anti-fog technology. The mask is reusable by sanitising it with 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol wipes daily, but the H13 HEPA filter needs to be replaced every two weeks.  The mask, which has both ear-hook and headbands, can significantly reduce the burden on people who wear hearing aids for prolonged periods. It also addresses the specific needs of microtia patients and those who need to wear a headscarf.