Thursday, July 30, 2020

Testing masks for teaching

I had three family members turn away from me while I read two prepared philosophical sentences, using three different masks and no mask, and they ranked each reading for comprehensibility. The scale is:
  1. Incomprehensible
  2. Somewhat comprehensible
  3. Mostly comprehensible
  4. Comprehensible
  5. Completely clear
Here are the results:
  • No mask: 5.0
  • Cheap ebay "KN95": 4.3
  • Sonovia cloth antiviral mask (modified with nose wire): 3.7
  • Surgical mask: 4.7
The ordering between these also matches how I sounded to myself. Since the surgical masks provide very little in the way of protection--I can feel lots of air leaking around the edges--I think I will teach in the "KN95". Maybe I will try to tighten the straps on it for better fit.

For pictures and further descriptions of the masks, see my mask collection.

I would love to hear comments suggesting other options. Those of us who are not in a high risk category are expected to be teaching in person in the fall--with students and faculty all wearing masks, and with social distancing apparently less than 6 feet--and if anyone has ideas that balance comprehensibility with protection, I would love to hear them. Unfortunately, I don't project well normally when I speak.

1 comment:

Alexander R Pruss said...

Update: I've decided to add rubber bands to the ear straps of the "KN95" for better fit. I will test this out while rock climbing today.