And we’re back! Thanks for checking in after the long pause. I hope you are all coping and hanging in there with the current pandemic situation.
If you are a member of any of the Tourette social media communities, you may have seen an Amazon listed product making the rounds that is bluntly titled “Tourettes Mask for Outbursts”
For those not familiar with it, you can type that term verbatim in the amazon search. The product looks like a rubber sock with a widened piece that is designed to go over the mouth. The purpose is to silence vocal tics and outbursts, and has a headband that holds it that you can buy separately for long term use.
As it turns out…I have A LOT to say about this!
It made my stomach drop to see an item being so freely sold that would mute someone with Tourettes syndrome. On the surface, this is a product used to mute tics instead of create an environment of acceptance. While I understand a free-thinking adult using this in a professional setting to minimize disruptions, the fact that this item is listed on Amazon with no medical research to back up its results really bothers me.
There has been a general sense of outrage across many people living with TS because it shows how far we really are from acceptance. The fact alone that someone even felt the need to create this tells you all you need to know. When you list a product so unstudied, into a community where there is so much misunderstanding, you are breeding more issues than you could ever be solving.
All I could think of is someone buying this and telling their child or family member that they should be using it. The horror that person would feel realizing that someone would rather introduce something to make their life easier than try and understand and accept your life and condition.
I’ve lived through the horror of being told I needed to go to another room if I was going to “make those noises.”. You never fully recover from that. It is always something that sits in the back of your mind, and in my case, made me want to fight for awareness so much harder.
Again, if someone choses to use this, I am not here to tell you not to. It isn’t my place to tell anyone how to cope with their TS. We all have it differently, and we all need different things to get through our day to day lives. What worries me is the appearance of an item like this being listed to just anyone who could use this to do more harm than good in the community. If this is something that they decide to medically study and back in the future, I would hope you could only get it through your medical provider.
If you’re as bothered by this product as I am, you can leave a one-star review and ask Amazon to consider removing it until it is cleared by medical professionals.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Please feel free to comment. Until we meet again, please stay safe