The COVID-19 Pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances that impact all Canadians’ health and social wellness. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, the impact of the use of face masks that conceals the mouth has created additional communications barriers. The Como Foundation founders Max Cucchiella and his wife, Sarah Veinot, recognized this and decided to make non-medical masks. With a clear medical grade plastic insert in the centre, people who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on lip-reading would have equal
communication access. The growing demand for the clear masks now called the “Access Mask” has allowed the Como Foundation committed to raising $500,000 as a donation to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA).
“The generous commitment from the Como Foundation will help us educate Canadians on the importance of communication health for all those affected by hearing loss. Communication health is even more prevalent in these days of isolation due to the coronavirus. We need to ensure everyone recognizes communication health and how important it is during these unprecedented times. Our partnership with the Como Foundation will support our efforts towards these initiatives,” said Marilyn Kingdon, President and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.
“Our partnership with the Como Foundation has exceeded our expectations in such a short time. Bridging the gap and working towards positive changes is something Sarah and Max have championed very well, and we look forward to building our partnership and breaking down communication barriers,” said Richard Plummer, CHHA Director of Business & Operations.
Hearing loss is one of the most isolating disabilities. It frequently goes undetected and untreated in most adults leading to social isolation, depression, and potential safety issues.
Forty percent of adults aged 20-79 have some form of hearing loss, and 78% of adults 60-79 experience hearing loss (Stats Canada, 2016). Hearing loss is becoming one of the largest disabilities in the world.
“We are proud of our “Access Mask,” and being able to give back is so important to us,” said Sarah Veinot. Her husband, Max, added, “We knew our partnership with CHHA would further raise awareness and support the cause that will bring positives changes in every community in Canada.
About the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) was established in 1982 and is Canada’s leading consumer advocacy organization representing the needs of the nearly 4-million people living with hearing loss. With a network across Canada, CHHA works cooperatively with hearing loss professionals, service providers, government and provides life enhancing information, support, and advocacy to ensure people with hearing loss are able to overcome barriers in all aspects of their lives.
The Como Foundation
The Como Foundation designs and manufactures Access Masks.
For further information contact: