Mask wearing has been a common practice for over a year now. We're used to seeing every masked up for safety, and I am a proponent of this. As someone who would get seriously sick every winter, it has been very eye-opening to see how much masking, hand sanitizing, and hand washing have helped my general health over the past 14 or so months (COVID concerns aside).
But I have a confession - I miss seeing people smile. Sometimes you can see it in their eyes, but not always. And I smile a lot. I like to brighten people's day, even if it's only a little.
So I stumbled across a mask online that has a clear panel in it so you can see the mouth of the wearer. I bought a 4 pack. (I soon bought more.)
And my world changed. Immediately. Significantly.
People would stop. They'd stare. They'd ask questions. They'd make comments.
"Where did you get that mask?!"
"Oh, it's so nice to see a smile again!"
"I love your mask!"
Little kids give some adorable reactions, too. Their eyes widen. They laugh and giggle. They stare. They point. They tug on their parents' sleeve and point to show them my mask.
I've given away over a dozen masks, mostly to teachers who have stopped me to ask where I got my mask. (The answer is Amazon, but you can also search the web for "clear panel face mask" or "face mask deaf or hard of hearing." If you find a good non-Amazon source for them, let me know. I'd love to try them out.)
I also found out how much we use facial clues to convey meaning. Again, it's very eye-opening. It's so much easier to share humor - my grin tells if I'm goofing around or I'm serious.
I hope this post helps someone. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments. :)