Deaf Doctor Created See-Through Masks So People With Hearing Impairment Can Still Communicate Without Risk
- Dr. Brian Travers creates see-through masks for people like him who have a hearing impairment.
- When a grocery store staff ordered a mask, he was touched by her story and decided to post it on social media.
- It was reposted by Some Good News and thousands of people are loving his masks and how Asli wants to help her deaf customers.
After Asli Knowles saw the clear face masks by Dr. Brian Travers on Instagram, she wanted to have one. Asli is a staff at a grocery store and it’s important for her that customers see her face especially for those who are impaired in hearing.
After learning of her reason, Dr. Travers was so moved he decided to write a letter addressed to Asli’s managers.
“Alsi texted, ‘I like to smile, and I think this pandemic is making everyone upset and I want to make my customers happy with my smile,’” says the 53-year-old resident in Florida. “Alsi’s reason for wanting my clear, see-through facial covering with a plastic window is the most selfless reason I have ever come across. She is clearly an asset to her organization.”
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"We have deaf customers. I need to take off my masks every time for them to read my lips and I don't want to put them in danger."⠀ ⠀ When @brianstravers received a message from @whitetreeofblues asking for a mask that still allowed her to smile and communicate with deaf customers, he decided to not only grant her request but to also send a letter to her bosses, making sure that they know what an incredible frontline worker they have in their stores. ⠀ ⠀ #SomeGoodNews
Dr. Travers also shared the letter on social media and he never expected that Some Good News would pick up on the story and repost it for the world to see. Soon enough, thousands of people are flooding in positive feedback and how they love the creative masks and Alsi’s story. As for the doctor, the experience hit more personally.
“That just resonated with me. Being deaf all these years, a person’s smile tells me right from the get-go (what they’re like),” he told TODAY. “She wanted to make everyone comfortable.”
He immediately sent Alsi the mask she requested even though it usually takes him weeks to do so. There is a high demand for Anchor Made Design masks and he normally sews only 8-10 masks per hour. FDA approved only one clear mask for health workers and it’s difficult to find clear paneled masks.
“I wasn’t looking for recognition. I wanted her to be recognized. She is a leader and I want other people to see leaders,” he said. “There are no words, there is no dollar value to being able to make a difference.”
In 2002, Dr. Travers lost his hearing due to a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta and quit his job as a doctor. He himself had difficulty communicating with people who wear masks because he relies greatly on lip reading. That is why he started creating the see-through masks not only for himself but also for other people who are experiencing the same difficulty.
“The mask is required. But it is a barrier,” he said. “Why don’t we adopt this idea of masks with a window for open communication?”
He learned to sew in March and he fell in love with it. He had gone through so much and he appreciates people’s stories and how his masks help them.