Brooklyn mom creates transparent masks to help people who are hard of hearing
A Brooklyn mother was inspired to redesign masks in a way that breaks down barriers for those who are hard of hearing.
The transparent masks were originally developed to help a member of Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez's family.
Her creations are now allowing people across the country to feel seen.
She says initially her husband used his 3D printer to produce face shields. She used the sewing skills she learned from her grandmother to create masks out of fabric. Together, they donated the homemade PPE to local hospitals and organizations.
A conversation with her sister sparked a change in the design.
"My sister mentioned that she and her husband were having such a difficult time when they were out in public because he has over 80% hearing loss. One of his tools got taken away with people wearing masks, and that's lip reading, so everything became more difficult," she says.
Samperi-Gonzalez altered her approach to mask-making to include a clear vinyl panel - allowing expressions to shine through and be seen.
She gave some to her brother-in-law for his friends and family.
Soon after, speech pathologists and teachers started expressing interest.
The mother of three got her kids involved in the process and now is selling the transparent masks on her Etsy shop -- Made With Ease.
She's reached customers as far away as California.