The following is a letter to the editor.

I was born two months prematurely in 1953, which caused a hearing loss due to the nerve not being properly developed. At that time, all students in Monroe County with a hearing impairment were bussed to Ida Public Schools.

We had perhaps one or two classes in the specialized program and the rest of our studies were with our classmates and friends in the general classroom setting. Nowadays, the teacher from the ISD program goes to the school where the student is attending, which is better than bussing a child to another district.

When I went to school, we were taught to talk. No sign language was allowed since this limited our ability to communicate with most people in the “real world.” I use hearing aids, but I picked up lip reading naturally from a very young age. I graduated from Ida in 1972, graduated from Monroe County Community College in 2010 and worked at the La-Z-Boy factory until they shut down. I also worked at Monroe Public Schools for more than 30 years and I retired from La Salle Township Cemetery.

I am also involved in many civic duties, and currently serve as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Dundee. I am a reenactor and volunteer for the River Raisin National Battlefield, and I am an alumni association board of director’s member for MCCC. I also enjoy being involved with the local tractor clubs.

Facemasks, as you know, are required to be worn in the stores. I went into one store and since employees wore facemasks, I had a very difficult time understanding them! If there is background noise, it is almost impossible to communicate, even with my hearing aids.

I understand the facemasks are a necessity during this pandemic, but it’s a needed evil! If this is temporary, I can live with it. I only go out when I need to and I don’t talk to anyone. I’m hoping that this virus will end soon and that facemasks will be gone--unless they come out with a clear facemask, especially for employees who deal with the public.

I do think and hope that the Americans with Disabilities Act will have something to say about this. I am a community member lost with the widespread use of facemasks as most all hearing impaired will be. This could potentially affect our aging population in general as hearing degenerates over time. Be safe.

Richard D. Greer Jr.

LaSalle