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‘They’re Paying The Price’: Malta’s Hearing-Impaired Community Is Struggling More Now That Everyone Is Wearing A Face Mask

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Not everyone is benefiting from new directives to wear face masks in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, those who are hearing-impaired are struggling now more than ever.

“A lot of people with hearing impairments lip read,” a father of children with hearing loss told Lovin Malta.

“They have to look at the person’s lips to understand what they’re saying and when they are wearing face masks it can be both very difficult and very frustrating.”

While there is no legal obligation to wear face masks inside retail stores and commercial establishments, the majority of shops have embraced this directive and understandbly so.

However, the choice to wear a face mask instead of a face shield is impacting the ability of those with hearing impairments to communicate and consequently are unable to go about doing their daily tasks and errands.

“My children are finding it extremely difficult to communicate and they’re paying for it. It’s not just them; there are elderly people too who suffer from hearing impairments.”

“People working at commercial outlets and behind counters should wear a shield instead of a face mask, it’s a very easy thing to change.”

“Ideally it should be mandatory that all people serving should have to wear a shield because it’s a problem otherwise.”

As it stands, disposable masks are capped at 0.95c and face shields at €5. Retail stores and public transport have the right to deny entry to anyone who tries to enter without one.

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