Opaque face masks harm communication by preventing speech-reading (lip-reading) and attenuating high-frequency sound. Although transparent masks and shields (visors) with clear plastic inserts allow speech-reading, they usually create more sound attenuation than opaque masks. Consequently, an iterative process was undertaken to create a better design, and the instructions to make it are published. The experiments showed that lowering the mass of the plastic inserts decreases the high-frequency sound attenuation. A shield with a clear thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) panel had an insertion loss of (2.0 ± 1.1) dB for 1.25-8 kHz, which improves on previous designs that had attenuations of 11.9 dB and above. A cloth mask with a TPU insert was designed and had an insertion loss of (4.6 ± 2.3) dB for 2-8 kHz, which is better than the 9-22 dB reported previously in the literature. The speech intelligibility index was also evaluated. Investigations to improve measurement protocols that use either mannikins or human talkers were undertaken. Manufacturing variability and inconsistency of human speaking were greater sources of experimental error than fitting differences. It was shown that measurements from a mannikin could match those from humans if insertion losses from four human talkers were averaged.
- face mask
- speech reading
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Munro, K., Millman, R., Lamb, W., Dawes, P., Plack, C., Stone, M., Kluk-De Kort, K., Moore, D., Morton, C., Prendergast, G., Couth, S., Schlittenlacher, J., Chilton, H., Visram, A., Dillon, H., Guest, H., Heinrich, A., Jackson, I., Littlejohn, J., Jones, L., Lough, M., Morgan, R., Perugia, E., Roughley, A., Short, A., Whiston, H., Wright, C., Saunders, G. & Kelly, C.