Raising awareness about hearing loss

National Foundation for the Deaf staff Nicky McLaughlin, Ronel Schodt, Lisa Talbot and Lorien Doherty get ready for the Silent Leadership Challenge on August 4.

Raising awareness about noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace is the aim of the ‘Silent Leadership Challenge’ on August 4.

The National Foundation for the Deaf is calling for registrations for its annual online fundraising event.

Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by single instances of extreme noise and prolonged exposure to noise which can lead, respectively, to sudden or gradual sensorineural hearing loss as a result of damage to the sensory cells.

NIHL is commonly associated with occuptional-related noise in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction and may occur with noisy leisure pursuits like mowing the lawns or listening to loud music.

The Silent Leadership Challenge requires participants to undergo some challenging communication tasks in the workplace and at home wearing bright yellow hearing protectors to simulate deafness. The challenge will include communicating and participating in one-to-one meetings, a team meeting in the workplace and watching television while wearing the provided ear protectors.

Almost 120 individuals and organisations have registered for the challenge so far, including teams of hundreds of people.

Campaign manager Lisa Talbot says getting involved in the challenge can have a powerful effect on people in the workplace. “It really does create understanding to think twice about being exposed to noisy sounds over 85 decibels and using protectors."

Participants receive a free welcome pack containing hearing protectors to simulate what it is like to be hard of hearing. The website also provides a guide to the three short challenges that can be actioned during one working day.

Registrations are open until August 3 for the challenge on Friday, August 4. Funds raised from the challenge will enable the National Foundation for the Deaf to maintain its advocacy work and educate New Zealanders on the impact hearing loss can have long-term.

To register for the Silent Leadership Challenge visit www.silentleadershipchallenge.com/event/silentleadershipchallenge2017

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