Frontline Health Care Workers:

It did not take long in the pandemic before our students started to notice that their moms, dads, siblings, uncles, and aunts were coming home from work with sore ears. The straps for the masks were digging into the back of their ears from extremely long days of work. The same desire to act to help solve light poverty turned local.

Students found a design of ear saver to help prevent the ear damage. There was a design that was all over social media, but there was also a design made by Bessborough Middle School kids. However, my students knew that we had flexible rubber filament that might be even more comfortable than the PLA versions that were circulating.

The realization that this was going to be a long term event, the ear savers could not be single use. They would need to be sanitized. So they conducted some experiments. They sent some of their ear savers to a local vet clinic to see how they fit, if the flexible rubber would survive the autoclave sterilization process. IT WORKED!!! They tried 4 different thicknesses. 2 mm was too thin and too flexible to hold the tension in the straps while 5 mm was way too thick and over kill. It was 3mm that seemed to be the optimum rigidity, time, material and cost effective. We started printing them from my home and distributing these through the Bessborough Middle School network and our own connections.