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Masks against coronavirus present 'brutal' challenge for the hearing-impaired

Lip-reading is essential for Deborah, who is hearing impaired.
Lip-reading is essential for Deborah, who is hearing impaired. © FRANCE 24

Amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have been deemed a useful tool in the fight against the spread of the virus. As France begins to ease its lockdown, the facial coverings are now compulsory in order to use public transportation and many shops require masks on their premises. But what about the hearing-impaired?

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Face masks prevent lip reading and reduce the effectiveness of communication for those who are hard of hearing and who rely on facial expressions to glean vital meaning from their daily interactions.

"It's difficult to explain, yet it feels extremely brutal," says Jérémie Boroy, the president of the CNCPH, France's advisory council for disabled people. An estimated eight percent of French people are hearing-impaired.

FRANCE 24's Yena Lee and Noémie Roche take a look at just how difficult masks can make life for the hearing-impaired and what can be done about it.

To watch their report, click on the video player above.

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