A deaf person communicates through reading lips and facial expressions. How would that person cope when people’s faces are covered in masks?
Jennifer Warsing from Huntington, Pennsylvania was hearing-impaired. She had to wear a hearing aid because she only had 12 percent hearing in her left ear, and her other ear was completely deaf. Seeing people’s expressions and lip-reading helped her communicate with others.
When wearing a mask became mandatory because of the Covid19 pandemic, she was frustrated. She could not see people’s expressions and lips. Her hearing aid kept falling off when she wore a mask. It became next to impossible for her to communicate with other people.
Then businesses started to re-open and quarantine restrictions were modified. People started to interact with each other again. Jennifer decided that she could not just stay at home at worry about going out without her hearing aid. She needed to go out at some point and she decided that it was more important to wear a mask than to wear her hearing aid.
In any case, Jennifer would not be alone. She had Wellie, her certified hearing service dog. Wellie stayed with her all the time and alerted her to traffic or when the phone rang. She also noticed Jennifer’s anxiety and would stay physically close until she calmed down.
Jennifer knew that she could rely on Wellie to be her ears. Wellie had been with her before the pandemic started, and she had proved to be a valuable companion. She was more valued now when life was not normal.
Jennifer admitted that she would be at a loss without Wellie. She depended on her so much. Their connection grew stronger during this difficult time. Wellie became more in tune with Jennifer’s needs.
Jennifer was thankful that she was able to find a way to deal with the new norm, thanks to her ever-reliable service dog, Wellie.
Photo from Guideposts