BC scout 3D prints ear guards to help during COVID-19

12-year-old Quinn Callander has made over 300 of the gadgets that take pressure off the ears of doctors and nurses wearing surgical masks
ear guards Quinn Callander with some of his awesome ear guards. (Heather Roney/Twitter)

A 12-year-old BC boy named Quinn Callander has put his time isolated at home — and his tech know-how — to great use.

The young Scout from Maple Ridge has 3D printed up over 300 'ear guards' for doctors and nurses to wear with their surgical masks. His efforts have turned him into a social media sensation, earned the gratitude of healthcare professionals both near home and around the world, and proved that Prime Minister Trudeau really meant it when he said that kids had their part to play in stopping this virus.

But what is an ear guard exactly? And why are they so useful?

Mask overload

Embed from Getty Images

Finding surgical masks these days is very difficult. But wearing them constantly brings another kind of pain. (Getty Embed)

In hospitals surgical masks are already common. Usually it is about making sure that doctors and nurses don't accidentally infect patients during surgery. But right now, doctors and nurses are wearing them to make sure that they don't get infected themselves while treating patients with COVID-19 .

These simple masks are worn by hooking elastic straps over the ears. And this is where the problem starts. After hours and hours of wearing the masks, the straps begin to irritate the skin behind the ears to the point of pain. But what if they didn't sit around the ears?

Enter ear guards!

ear guards

This picture shows how the ear guards work by taking pressure off the ears. (Heather Roney/Twitter)

This is where Quinn's awesome ear guards come in. They are simple but effective. The flexible plastic strips have a series of T-hooks on either end. You simply hooks the straps of the mask around the hooks that best fit your head (kind of like adjusting the straps on a baseball cap).

And presto! No straps around your ears — no ear pain!

It may sound like a small thing, but working without pain allows doctors and nurses to better concentrate on their patients and the safety of everyone. And given just how hard they are working, Quinn's efforts are literally a lifesaver!

Gratitude for Quinn

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Quinn's mother Heather Roney said that the gratitude has been overwhelming.

“We’ve heard from thousands of people who say, ‘This is the difference between working your 12-hour shift comfortably and being in constant pain,’ because of pressure on their ears.”

It takes about five hours for Quinn to print eight of the ear guards. By running his machine 24 hours a day for days, he made 300. And that number is still climbing. Both in his home and around the world because his design can be downloaded and printed by others.

Check out this tweet from his mother.

Thousands of people are now using their own printers to help healthcare pros work pain-free.

Congratulations, Quinn. You're a real inspiration!

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  1. Fantastic! So helpful and coming from a youth lets other youths know that they too can help if they set their mind to it.
    P.S. We don’t have “boy” Scouts in Canada. The Scouting organization in Canada is no longer known as “boy Scout” The organization is called “Scouts Canada” and has been coed for many, many years. They are a fantastic organization for youth from 5 years to 26 years and have great Scouters to help guide them in their knowledge and growth.

  2. Recently, homeschool has been very boring. But when my teacher told my class to read this news article, I got excited. It is very inspiring that he is using his time wisely to help so many doctors who risk their lives every day to help people. I hope that I will have an opportunity to help the community and/or world someday like Quinn.

  3. These sound wonderful!! I am on 24hour oxygen thearapy and behind my ears get so sore. Where could I get some of these wonderful things!!! Quinn you are brilliant!!

    1. I am on 24 hour oxygen an would love to have some of these. people on oxygen could be a whole new market for you, behind the ears gets pretty sore. I have been on oxygen for 5 years and plan to be for a long time, what wonderful idea!!! where can I get some???

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