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Montreal-made mask facilitates lip reading with clear mouthguard

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At first glance, It looks like the Canamasq mask has a hole in it but that area is in fact clear - making it a lot easier to hear what someone is saying | Photo supplied

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When concerns heightened over COVID-19 earlier this year, it became clear the increasing need for locally sourced personal protective equipment.  

Canadian companies in all fields started refitting their machinery to make this happen. While the availability and sourcing concerns calmed as availability improved, for Audra Renyi, a Montreal-based professional, there was still cause for concern.

Renyi, the Executive Director of World Wide Hearing Foundation International, has a different perspective on the effect of masks on the hard of hearing population. It was through her experience that she developed Canamasq.

Canamasq is a Canadian developed and manufactured re-usable mask with an anti-fog coated clear plastic insert, to facilitate lip reading, as well as reading of facial expressions. The idea originally came to Renyi from a problem that arose before the pandemic, when her father, who developed hearing loss as a child, underwent dialysis, and struggled to understand his care providers through their masks.

Renyi observed the problem for years; when COVID-19 hit, things were amplified, as she attended more hospital appointments. She became troubled by it being impossible for her father to hear.

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The World Wide Hearing Foundation International focuses on bringing affordable hearing solutions to children in lower income environments. According to the World Health Organization’s stats for hearing loss, nearly 500 million individuals worldwide have disabling hearing loss. This number climbs closer to 1 billion if one adds in those with mild hearing loss, which can be exacerbated by trying to hear someone wearing a mask.

Along with creating a mask which accommodates facial visualization, Renyi put in tremendous time and effort into developing a mask which would be something people would want to wear. “We did a lot of research and development on traditional complaints. Our ear loops, for example, are adjustable. We also addressed the heat problem, by including filtration material used in medical masks. It’s light and breathable. We don’t use a wire over the nose, either. The way our mask is structured it goes under your glasses so it won’t fog up, due to its special shape. The nose design was a big part of our research and development.”

Audra Renyi, Executive Director of World Wide Hearing Foundation International wearing the Canamasq, while holding her 14-month-old daughter | Photo supplied

The other beauty of Canamasq is that it helps reduce taking the mask on and off. “We have a clip of a recent press conference in Quebec where Trudeau takes off his mask before he speaks. You see people take off their masks and put them back on. Touching your face defeats the purpose of the mask.”

While Renyi developed Canamasq due to a need in the hard of hearing community, she has found numerous other important applications. 

“I have a 14-month-old daughter, who I just put in daycare. When she saw the mask, she got scared. I gave her caregiver a Canamasq and she’s noticing a big difference with the children.”

The Canamasq is a Canadian developed and manufactured re-usable mask with an anti-fog coated clear plastic insert, to facilitate lip reading, as well as reading of facial expressions.

Renyi feels that teachers and caregivers wearing Canamasqs is especially important for kids with hearing loss or learning disabilities. It will keep their focus on the teachers, and make sure they’re not losing that connection. “I think we need to do everything we can to make sure our kids are not missing out. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. Even six months in the life of a young child is a long time.

“We’re very visual beings. We’re used to reading a lot of meaning beyond what is said. Facial expressions go a long way. It’s hard enough to go through a pandemic but when you lose some of that human connection, that’s where we’re really able to make a difference.”

Dr. Deborah Mechanic is a Toronto-based chiropractor. For more information: [email protected] or @drmechanicsbodyshop.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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