A surgery gone wrong: how we got started.

A few years ago, one of our co-founders had surgery. Because she is Deaf, she relies on her native language, American Sign Language, and visual cues such as lip-reading and facial expressions. In preparation for the surgery, she requested sign language interpreters in order to understand and communicate with medical staff.

Standard face mask - ClearMask

On the day of surgery, however, the hospital did not provide her with sign language interpreters, effectively violating state and federal law. When she entered the operating room, everyone was wearing surgical face masks. Having relied so heavily on sign language, lip-reading, and visual cues, she was left completely in the dark. With masks on everyone's faces, she was isolated with absolutely no access to communication and information about her body. When they conducted their last safety checks - making sure they had the right patient, the right blood type on hand, and the right side of the body for operating - she was unable to understand them.

She asked medical staff if there were any transparent masks to help ease the miscommunication and anxiety. They did not have any. Before going under, she asked the anesthesiologist to give her a signal so she would know when to anticipate the anesthesia. The anesthesiologist never tapped her shoulder. "I remember realizing that I was going under, the room fading away. It was at that moment that I truly felt like I was not a human being."

ClearMask design team - ClearMask

It was at that moment that ClearMask™ came to life. Our co-founder was determined to change the face of healthcare so that no patient would ever have to feel that way again. 

What first started as a tool for Deaf and hard of hearing patients has now become a tool for everyone. Time and again, our team has witnessed an incredible phenomenon that immediately happens in the room when a ClearMask is worn: a smile. 

ClearMask™ helps bridge the gap between communication and understanding, fostering the foundation of human connection.