Our healthcare professionals and other heroes need masks for protection from COVID-19. Many wear masks for their entire shift. While this practice keeps them safer, it has also introduced the problem of sore ears; constant chafing from the mask straps rubs skin raw.
Enter the ear-protecting mask extender, which offers a painless place to hook the straps. Such extenders have been fashioned with 3-D printers, crocheted of cotton yarn, and crafted from headbands and buttons. I even saw a suggestion for using detachable bra straps.
If you don’t have a 3-D printer, don’t know how to crochet, and don’t have access to extra headbands (or detachable bra straps) but still want to make mask extenders, you can use scrunchies. (How fortunate is it that scrunchies have come back into fashion?) Oh, and this takes only five minutes.
Ear Protector/Mask Extender (Here are printable instructions.)
- A scrunchie (If your scrunchies are quite small, you could loop two of them together.)
- Two flat buttons (¾ inch or larger) (Make sure to use flat buttons with two or four holes; buttons with a shank instead of holes will not work.)
- A needle
- Holding the scrunchie flat, sew a button in the center of one side. (Make sure to sew through the elastic inside the scrunchie. This will keep the buttons from flipping when the mask straps are attached.)
- Sew the second button on the scrunchie in the same way, directly opposite the first.
- To use, hold the extender against the back of your head. Put the mask on, hooking the straps around the extender’s buttons instead of around your ears.
And to all the heroes: thank you!