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Company Designs Innovative New Face Masks To Help Aid The Deaf Community

Anjali Punn models a face mask designed for the lip-reading community (Jane Barlow/PA)

An Edinburgh, Scotland, company is making the first face masks for the deaf community which enable sight of mouth for lip-reading.


Breathe Easy, created by Gavin McAdam, has been inundated with orders for the products after trialing the prototypes in early April.

The masks include a plastic insert which allow for lip-reading.

The company is creating around 200 masks a day and 5,000 have already been distributed free to those in need. Plans are already in place to increase production.

Gavin McAdam wears one of the face masks designed by his Edinburgh pop-up company (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr. McAdam took over the rental of a tailoring workshop in Newington and now has a staff of seven, including three full-time seamstresses, to cope with demand.

Working with Deaf Action Scotland, National Deaf Children's Society (Scotland), Forth Valley Sensory Center and the North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Breathe Easy has been supplying the organizations with the masks that allow sight of the mouth.

Mr. McAdam said the initial plan was to manufacture quality fabric masks to front-line workers, those at risk, vulnerable groups and anyone concerned for friends or family.

Atanaska Slavova makes face masks at Breathe Easy (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said:

“While not medical grade, the masks are ideal for casual use and provide a barrier which brings a real source of comfort for many people worried about contracting [the virus] while out in public."
“I was keen to produce something to help the deaf community and the designs have been well received."
“The thicker material works well for these masks as it is more structured and is better for holding the plastic in place."
“The masks are all washable and will be as good in six months' time as they are on day one. We also have a variety of designs to suit all tastes."

Some of the customized face masks created by the company (Jane Barlow/PA)

The company is creating customized and branded masks, with the logos of soccer teams, companies, and charities.

Other charities such as Steps to Hope, Visualize Scotland, and Positive Pathways have also had masks donated.

Mr. McAdam added:

“I feel really quite excited about this project and am getting a lot out of trying to do good for people in these worrying times."
“It is amazing how quickly things have progressed from a wee idea to where we are now."
“We just ask for donations for the masks destined for front-line, care sector workers, and vulnerable groups, and every penny we get goes to the production of more masks to help others and that is why we're all enthused by this."
“Bliss Dancewear in Corstorphine is applying our branded logos and we have a couple of local taxi drivers delivering the masks for free so there is a real feeling of being in this together and doing what we can to help."