woman having a video chat on her computer wearing a facial coveringFacial coverings and masks can make it difficult for some people to communicate. People who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on facial cues may not understand you when your face is covered.

When you are wearing a face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, be aware that you may inadvertently create a situation where another person may no longer understand you.

Here are some tips for communicating when using face coverings and masks:

  • If you are with someone who doesn't seem to understand you, consider that they may be missing important cues to communicate.

  • If you cannot temporarily remove your face covering to communicate, try writing or typing on a smartphone

  • If there is space and it is safe, remove your mask while talking on conference calls or video chats  

  • If you or someone in your life struggles to understand people wearing facial coverings, consider creating a written script before leaving the house or programming information into a text-to-speak smartphone app.

Communication Cards (from Oregon Health Authority)

Visual Communication Tool (PDF)

I am Deaf or Hard of Hearing (PDF)

I am Unable to Speak but I Can Understand You (PDF)