Port Macquarie's Doug Piper is calling on people to be kind and patient towards people who are hard of hearing or deaf.
During the coronavirus pandemic a number of people have taken to wearing masks in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
However deaf people rely on facial expressions and lip reading to communicate.
Some people within the deaf community have experienced rudeness from others when they have difficulty.
Mr Piper said respect is an important value.
"A little bit of patience and empathy," he said.
"We're all going through a difficult time but some are doing it a lot harder."
Mr Piper is not deaf or hard of hearing but has worked within the deaf community since 1971.
The now retired teacher is fluent in Auslan and worked at North Rocks School for the Deaf for a period of 10 years.
Mr Piper has also worn many hats through his work for Australian Deaf Rugby, which he's been involved in since 2004.
He labelled the deaf community as the forgotten part of the Australian demographic.
Auslan requires the use of the whole body for communication.
Mr Piper said with the wearing of masks, a lot of the elements used within Auslan disappear.
He would like to see face masks which are transparent and are still effective, so facial expressions can continue to be seen.
According to the Deaf Society one in six people have some form of hearing loss.
Leonie Jackson is the chief executive of the Deaf Society and has experienced her own difficulties as a deaf person.
She relies on lip reading and body language to communicate with others.
"I'm heavily reliant on seeing people's faces," she said.
"Either through Auslan or lip reading when one on one."
Ms Jackson has two children and they recently had to take COVID-19 tests.
She had difficulties communicating with hospital staff because she couldn't see their faces.
"The whole experience was very upsetting," she said.
Ms Jackson has become aware of many circumstances where deaf people are feeling distressed because they are potentially missing out on valuable opportunities to connect.
"We also understand the importance of wearing a mask in terms of health and safety," she said.
The Deaf Society has been working with mental health services so they are aware of the need to provide Auslan interpreters or use live captioning.
"We need to ensure we support the mental health and wellbeing of the deaf community," Ms Jackson said.
The society have developed some cards as a way to help the deaf community communicate with others.
For more information visit https://deafsociety.org.au