Covid: Clear face masks trialled in north Wales to 'greatly benefit' patients

  • Published
Media caption,

Patients "absolutely loving" clear face masks

Clear face masks which were trialled by a Welsh health board to make lip reading easier for people with hearing problems are to be trialled across the UK.

Audiologists at Betsi Cadwaladr health board tested several models to improve communication with patients.

About 250,000 masks will be delivered to hospitals and health providers across the UK over the next few weeks.

One audiologist said the masks would "greatly benefit" patients.

Image caption,
The masks were made by US-based company ClearMasks

Kathryn Davies, a senior audiology assistant at Wrexham Maelor Hospital who has no hearing in her right side and 40% in her left, said the masks would help put her "at ease".

"Due to the pandemic, myself and all my colleagues wear face masks at work and that has made it difficult for me to communicate with them," she said.

"My duties at work have also changed as I haven't felt confident enough to communicate with the patients with a mask.

"I've always grown up predominantly looking for lip reading and visual cues, so I think these clear masks will really put me at ease."

The project, which saw several different masks trialled by the north Wales health board, was funded by Awyr Las, an NHS charity.

The Department of Health and Social Care will send out 250,000 clear masks for hospitals and health providers to trial.

Image source, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Image caption,
Dr Sarah Bent said more would be learned about the masks in the coming weeks

Dr Sarah Bent, principal clinical scientist in audiology, said more would be learned about the masks over the next few weeks.

"We're hoping that in the next couple of weeks that we will be able to understand them a little better, but also understand what the limitations are because they're not a surgical mask at the end of the day."