What is that strange face-shield/mask combo? The Badger Shield+
I get questions about the strange-looking face-shield/mask combo I’ve been wearing since March (often from teachers or those who have teachers in their life). A number of you reached out to me recently after seeing it when Brian Kramp of Fox 6 News featured us last week, so I figured it would be useful to others to know about the Badger Shield+ from Midwest Prototyping. I love it, and here are answers to the common questions I get based on my experience using the Badger Shield+ as my primary face covering since September 2020.
What is the Badger Shield+?
It is a faceshield attached to surgical-mask fabric at the bottom. The surgical-mask fabric is adjusted with elastic that is tight to the underside of my chin so that my entire face is enclosed while remaining visible, with small gaps at the side of my head near my ears. I keep my elastic pretty tight so that these gaps are small. When I’m doing a lot of talking, the interior will heat up but the airflow from the side-gaps is generally sufficient to keep things comfortable. I also have the version with the fan for additional airflow – I do like it, but I found it to be overkill, so I rarely use it.
Where did I learn about it?
I saw it last summer in an article on WUWM.com about how masks make life difficult for those with certain types of hearing loss because of how masks alter certain sounds and completely remove a the ability to lip read. I am a big believer in making use of all the non-verbal bandwidth in communication, so when I saw a masking option that allowed for facial expressions – even better that it was sensitive to those with hearing deficiencies or loss – I ordered immediately. At the time, our stores were closed for in-person shopping and I was spending a lot of time thinking about how to use technology to simulate in-person experiences over video (the result became our Virtual Barrister video-chat technology). I really felt that the Badger Shield+ was going to be critical to that project – as it turned out, my staff tend to prefer regular masks. Why? I have no clue, but that has been fine for Virtual Barrister video chats. YMMV.
Where did I get it?
I ordered it direct from the developers: Midwest Prototyping. Here’s the link to their online store: https://store.midwestproto.com/collections/badger-shield
Can you wear it with glasses? Does it fog?
I love how the Badger Shield+ works with glasses. Just catch the elastic under my chin and pull the headstrap around my head. Super easy and avoids hitting my glasses with ease. Do my glasses fog? No, which is great. The face-shield itself will fog, particular if it has been a while between cleanings. Typically, this is just the lower portion, which I find perfectly manageable as I’m rarely looking down. I suppose it might look silly – but I’m definitely not wearing this for style points! I do apply the Badger Shield anti-fog lens cleaner every 2-3 weeks, and that helps keep fogging of the face-shield a non-issue.
How does it sound and feel?
One of the main reasons I love the Badger Shield+ is how it lets my jaw move freely. Unlike when I’m wearing a mask, particularly some mask designs, where speaking just feels off, everything feels completely normal wearing the Badger Shield+. There is never any desire to pull it off to speak. For those hearing me, it sounds like I’m just behind a thin plastic barrier… which I am. The only physical feedback I have that tells me I wearing anything unusual is the (small, manageable) amount of heat and moisture that builds up from speaking. Well, if I’m doing something physical, the foam on the forehead can also get a bit moist from sweat – par for the course for a headband, I suppose.
How much does it cost?
Midwest Prototyping sells a 5-pack for $125, with price breaks for larger quantities. I’ve been using my one Badger Shield+ since August, cleaning it less than I should, sometimes with a glasses cleaner and sometimes with soap and water. While it has accumulated scratches and wear, I’m predicting I’ll be able to keep this one functional until fall 2021 when I’m hoping we’ll no longer need masks…. though I might treat myself to a new one in spring (see that bit about my staff not using theirs). Financially, I feel like I’m way ahead of the game with the Badger Shield+.
So, if you’ve seen me in the store or in a picture wearing that strange contraption on my face and thought “I want one”, I hope this has helped. If you have questions that I missed, shoot me a line (the Email Us form comes right to me).
Until next time, be well.