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How do face masks impact communication amongst deaf/HoH people?

Gutierrez-Sigut, Eva; Lamarche, Veronica M; Rowley, Katherine; Lago, Emilio Ferreiro; Pardo-Guijarro, Maria Jesus; Saenz, Ixone; Frigola, Berta; ... Goldberg, Laura; + view all (2022) How do face masks impact communication amongst deaf/HoH people? Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications , 7 (1) , Article 81. 10.1186/s41235-022-00431-4. Green open access

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Abstract

Face coverings have been key in reducing the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, they have hindered interpersonal communication, particularly for those who rely on speechreading to aid communication. The available research indicated that deaf/hard of hearing (HoH) people experienced great difficulty communicating with people wearing masks and negative effects on wellbeing. Here we extended these findings by exploring which factors predict deaf/HoH people's communication difficulties, loss of information, and wellbeing. We also explored the factors predicting perceived usefulness of transparent face coverings and alternative ways of communicating. We report the findings from an accessible survey study, released in two written and three signed languages. Responses from 395 deaf/HoH UK and Spanish residents were collected online at a time when masks were mandatory. We investigated whether onset and level of deafness, knowledge of sign language, speechreading fluency, and country of residence predicted communication difficulties, wellbeing, and degree to which transparent face coverings were considered useful. Overall, deaf/HoH people and their relatives used masks most of the time despite greater communication difficulties. Late-onset deaf people were the group that experienced more difficulties in communication, and also reported lower wellbeing. However, both early- and late-onset deaf people reported missing more information and feeling more disconnected from society than HoH people. Finally, signers valued transparent face shields more positively than non-signers. The latter suggests that, while seeing the lips is positive to everyone, signers appreciate seeing the whole facial expression. Importantly, our data also revealed the importance of visual communication other than speechreading to facilitate face-to-face interactions.

Type: Article
Title: How do face masks impact communication amongst deaf/HoH people?
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s41235-022-00431-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-022-00431-4
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 BioMed Central Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Deafness, COVID-19, Masks, Transparent masks, Communication, Wellbeing, Accessibility
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10171868
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