A young Missouri woman is showing people there is no excuse not to wear a face mask — because even though she only has one ear, she has still found creative ways to keep her masks secure.
Rhys Yarbrough, a 20-year-old student, told BuzzFeed that she was born with a craniofacial condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which left her with just one ear.
So in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she turned to TikTok to figure out how to keep a standard face mask over her mouth and nose — and, taking suggestions from viewers, has made it work by sticking a PopSocket, a Command hook, and a prosthetic ear on the side of her face.
Rhys, who has had about seven corrective surgeries and is completely deaf on her right side, first went viral a week ago when she posted a TikTok video complaining about the ear hooks on face masks.
‘Can someone please explain to me how I’m supposed to wear this?’ she says, holding up a cloth mask.
‘I know you hook it to your ears, but slight problem — I don’t have any f***ing ears!’
Suggestions flooded in from viewers, and Rhys soon tried out some of the funnier ones.
First, she attached a PopSocket — meant for the back of a smartphone for easier grip — to the smooth side of her head where an ear would typically be.
She then demonstrated putting on a mask, showing that the PopSocket actually worked quite well.
Next, she tried a Command wall hook, which also did the trick.
In reality, the prosthetic ear she usually wears works just fine for keeping her mask in place.
So, she said, she finds it irritating that she can figure out how to comply with masks rules and recommendations but others refuse and even invent fake medical excuses.
She also BuzzFeed that before the videos, she’d ‘never used anything but my prosthesis as an ear’ and ‘was curious on how it would actually work.’
‘The PopSocket was definitely more sturdy and felt more comfortable to wear,’ she said, adding that they both ‘peeled off easy, and it didn’t leave a mark.’
Rhy’s videos have gone viral, with the PopSocket one racking up 24.8 million views so far.
‘I tend to forget that my life is different from most people, and I would have never guessed that putting a freaking PopSocket on my face would get this much attention,’ she said.
The video has also resulted in other people with similar conditions reaching out, so she now has ‘this whole new network of people who are just like me.’