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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.


FAQs About Face Masks

Knowledge Base, a volunteer effort by Catharine McNally & Tina Childress, provides an extensive list of clear mask and face shield vendors. Due to high demand, please contact the vendors directly for more information.

While NDC cannot recommend a specific vendor, you can ask your question to the NDC listserv to see what other colleges and universities are using. Some also started to make their own. You should also review the information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or as outlined by your employer or school prior to buying or making any clear masks or face shields to ensure they provide enough protection.

One of the challenges of clear face masks is that they tend to fog up. The Hearing Spot and Knowledge Base provide several tips for care and use of clear masks that could help. Reach out to the NDC listserv for additional tips and recommendations.

Finding and buying clear face masks and shields can be a challenge, and people are making their own. Check with your employer or school on whether homemade masks meet their health and safety rules (also review the CDC standards on cloth face coverings).

Check out this comprehensive list of tutorials and DIY instructions for creating clear face masks. Some institutions are also using 3D printers to make face shields. Consider providing face masks or shields for service providers for use when working face to face with students.

Have an interactive dialogue with the deaf student to identify effective communication accommodations that would support them in the classroom when face masks are required. Consider a trial-and-error process to help the student identify what works best.

Accommodation options may include and not limited to:

  • Speech-to-Text Services: can be provided in-person or remotely and offers student access to the content in a text format.

  • Interpreters: can be provided in-person or remotely. In-person may require clear face masks or shields whereas reliable remote services would allow unobstructed visual access to interpreters’ faces to access the full language. Oral interpreters can also be used remotely for students who rely on lip-reading or may not know sign language.

  • Assistive Listening Systems (ALS): can be used to help alleviate issues when face masks muffle/dampen speech and the distance between speakers makes audible speech difficult to understand. ALS microphones and equipment can be disinfected for multiple users.

For additional tips and strategies see our latest article on face masks, ask colleagues on the NDC listserv, or contact the NDC Help Team.

Deaf students may experience difficulty accessing communication during interactions when masks are required. When discussing classroom accommodations with deaf students, work together to also identify tools and strategies for impromptu meetings such as at service counters, dorms, social interactions, and more. Some options to explore may include:

*Note that as a federally funded program we do not endorse or recommend specific products, agencies, vendors, or other services.

Some deaf people may experience discomfort wearing a face mask or shield with their hearing aids, glasses, or other devices. Try out some of these suggested strategies: