‘Button Heads’ help ease ear pain caused by masks

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
OKEECHOBEE — Sara Yates is making “Button Heads” to save wear and tear on folks’ ears.

OKEECHOBEE — Let’s face it. Wearing a mask all day is hard. Not only is it difficult to breathe in them, but the elastic can be very painful on the ears after an eight- to 12-hour shift. Sara Yates has been making fabric masks for several weeks now and, after recognizing the problem the elastic was causing, she saw a post on the “Okeechobee Sewing Masks for Unity” Facebook page demonstrating a unique way to take a little pressure off those sore ears and thought, “I can do that!”

She came up with her own version which she calls “Button Heads,” and then she began giving them away. She dropped some off at Capital Pawn, where several women have been dropping off fabric masks. The pawnshop gives the masks and, now, the button heads out to anyone who needs them, free of charge. She has also taken some to Publix, because someone mentioned the employees there wear masks all day long. Button Heads are crocheted pieces with a button on each end. Instead of hooking your elastic to your ear, you hook it to the buttons and the crocheted piece lays across the back of your head.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Pictured are some of Sara Yates’ “Button Heads.”

Ms. Yates has been crocheting for less than a year and says she is still a beginner. She taught herself using YouTube videos but said when she was a kid, her mom tried to teach her. Unfortunately, she was not interested at the time.

Elizabeth Addington, whose family owns Big Tasty and Addington Satellite, has been working on solving the same problem, but rather than crochet, she has been sewing headbands with buttons on them. She donates them to those who need them, beginning with her daughter Brittny, who is a nurse.

Matt Buxton created his own ear-saving device, using his laser. His are made from wood, and he gives them away free of charge to anyone who asks.

Anyone who needs a mask or a mask extender is encouraged to check Capital Pawn, where the mask makers are dropping them off. Larger groups who need a lot of masks can check with Mr. Buxton to put their group on his list. All are welcome to check the Facebook group, Okeechobee Sewing Masks for Unity, where you will find a large group of people sewing masks and donating them to those who need them.

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