COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Many Coloradans continue to wear a mask out in public, per health department guidance, but the COVID-19 safety precaution has its downfalls for deaf people.
The deaf and hard of hearing community struggles to read lips and understand facial expressions when speaking to masked people, making everyday life for them even more challenging.
KRDO reporter Julia Donovan spoke to Beth Oliver, who's hard of hearing and works at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.
Beth explained the additional struggles she now faces day in and day out.
"It's double -- a hundred times worse I'll say. We have a lot more anxiety, we’re feeling more left out, and it just becomes a source of frustration," Beth told KRDO.
Beth, like many others, reads lips and analyzes facial expressions to understand and communicate with people.
"When you cover that part of the face, the connection is lost," she said.
She told KRDO you can buy plastic face masks and shields online, but they're expensive and only come in massive orders.
The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind recently got a shipment of the plastic face coverings. But because they have to be washed or thrown out after every use, the students and teachers can't take them home.
So, while they're at school, they're all set. But for students and staff at home -- and for all other people hard of hearing -- Beth has a message to keep you going:
“We have to tell ourselves this - we are not alone.”