Woman with one ear sticks POPSOCKET to face to keep face mask on

Woman, 20, who was born with only one ear sticks a plastic wall hook and a POPSOCKET to the side of her head to keep her face mask in place in clever TikTok videos

  • Rhys Yarbrough, a 20-year-old student, was born with a craniofacial condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which left her with just one ear
  • She usually wears a prothesis in public and that can keep a face mask in place
  • A tongue-in-cheek video asking how she’s supposed to wear a mask when she doesn’t have a left ear went viral
  • The Missouri resident tested out some viewer suggestions, like a PopSocket and a Command wall hook
  • Rhys said she finds it irritating that people invent fake medical excuses to avoid wearing masks

A young Missouri woman is showing people there is no excuse not to wear a face mask — because even though she only has one ear, she has still found creative ways to keep her masks secure.

Rhys Yarbrough, a 20-year-old student, told BuzzFeed that she was born with a craniofacial condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which left her with just one ear.

So in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she turned to TikTok to figure out how to keep a standard face mask over her mouth and nose — and, taking suggestions from viewers, has made it work by sticking a PopSocket, a Command hook, and a prosthetic ear on the side of her face.

Viral: Rhys Yarbrough, a 20-year-old student, was born with a craniofacial condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which left her with just one ear

How to: A tongue-in-cheek video asking how she’s supposed to wear a mask when she doesn’t have a left ear went viral

Rhys, who has had about seven corrective surgeries and is completely deaf on her right side, first went viral a week ago when she posted a TikTok video complaining about the ear hooks on face masks.

‘Can someone please explain to me how I’m supposed to wear this?’ she says, holding up a cloth mask.

‘I know you hook it to your ears, but slight problem — I don’t have any f***ing ears!’ 

Suggestions flooded in from viewers, and Rhys soon tried out some of the funnier ones.

First, she attached a PopSocket — meant for the back of a smartphone for easier grip — to the smooth side of her head where an ear would typically be.

She then demonstrated putting on a mask, showing that the PopSocket actually worked quite well. 

Next, she tried a Command wall hook, which also did the trick.  

In reality, the prosthetic ear she usually wears works just fine for keeping her mask in place.

So, she said, she finds it irritating that she can figure out how to comply with masks rules and recommendations but others refuse and even invent fake medical excuses.

She also BuzzFeed that before the videos, she’d ‘never used anything but my prosthesis as an ear’ and ‘was curious on how it would actually work.’  

Another try: Next, she tried a Command wall hook, which also did the trick

Stick on: She put it on the side of her head, the hook facing backwards


How do you like that? She gave the thumbs up when it worked

Solution? She usually wears a prothesis in public and that can keep a face mask in place

‘I tend to forget that my life is different from most people, and I would have never guessed that putting a freaking PopSocket on my face would get this much attention,’ she said

‘The PopSocket was definitely more sturdy and felt more comfortable to wear,’ she said, adding that they both ‘peeled off easy, and it didn’t leave a mark.’  

Rhy’s videos have gone viral, with the PopSocket one racking up 24.8 million views so far.

‘I tend to forget that my life is different from most people, and I would have never guessed that putting a freaking PopSocket on my face would get this much attention,’ she said.

The video has also resulted in other people with similar conditions reaching out, so she now has ‘this whole new network of people who are just like me.’  

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