The Denture & Implant Centre is helping health care workers protect their ears while wearing masks during COVID-19 crisis. (Photo contributed)

Protecting ears from mask straps

Red Deer denture clinic produces ear defenders

Health care workers are getting some relief from the discomfort of mask straps.

In the past two weeks, The Denture & Implant Centre has produced 900 s0-called ear defenders to be given away to workers in Red Deer and central Alberta communities.

Brett Barros, a denturist and one of the owners of the centre, said the device is a notched piece of plastic that mask straps can be hooked to at the back of the head, instead of looping straps around the ears.

“If you wear a mask for an extended period of time, it rubs your ears raw. It’s not much fun. This puts the pressure on the back of your head, so you don’t get sore ears,” Barros said.

The company that built the centre’s 3D printer posted the ear defender design online for anyone to use for free.

He said the device may have been available prior to the pandemic, but nobody really used them because they didn’t have to wear masks for extended periods of time.


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Barros said his centre had to shut down on March 17 after the province announced what types of businesses could remain open during the COVID-19 crisis.

Making ear defenders was one way to help out, along with other denturists in Canada producing the device.

“We’re just trying to do our part and help everybody out.”

He said the plastic devices can be easily washed for repeated use.

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