Quantifying Face Mask Comfort [article]

Esther Koh, Mythri Ambatipudi, DaLoria L. Boone, Julia B.W. Luehr, Alena Blaise, Jose Gonzalez, Nishant Sule, David J. Mooney, Emily M. He
2021 medRxiv   pre-print
Face mask usage is one of the most effective ways to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but a mask is only useful if user compliance is high. Through anonymous surveys, we show that mask discomfort is the primary source of noncompliance in mask wearing. Further, through these surveys, we identify three critical parameters that dictate mask comfort: air resistance, water vapor permeability, and face temperature change. To validate these parameters in a physiological context, we performed experiments
more » ... to measure the respiratory rate and change in face temperature while wearing different types of commonly used masks. Finally, using values of these parameters from experiments and the literature, and surveys asking users to rate the comfort of various masks, three machine learning algorithms were trained and tested to generate overall comfort scores for those masks. Although all three models tested performed with an accuracy of approximately 70%, the multiple linear regression model also provides a simple analytical expression to predict the comfort scores for any face mask provided the input parameters. As face mask usage is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of this quantitative framework to predict mask comfort is likely to improve user experience and prevent discomfort-induced noncompliance.
doi:10.1101/2021.03.31.21254723 fatcat:hdvxvp7yenfgxejolxifk6czqm