Kiwis taking up the challenge

Kiwis taking up the challenge

1 August 2017, 6:22PM
Ronel Schodt

Hundreds of New Zealanders will find out what it’s like to live with a hearing loss when they take up the Silent Leadership Challenge next Friday (eds: August 4).

The annual challenge, run by The National Foundation for the Deaf on the first Friday of every August, sees participants wear hearing protectors while they undertake four separate tasks, and raises funds for the Foundation’s work.

And the Foundation’s challenge project co-ordinator Lisa Talbot says there’s plenty of time for the public to support the teams’ fundraising by going to the challenge website -  - and signing up.

“We’re still taking team registrations for the challenge, but anyone can help by backing the teams with funds - they just have to get on to our website,” she said.

“So far we have 140 teams and individuals, and some of the teams are health and safety advisers who between them are managing sound safety for thousands of staff.”

Teams signed up for this year’s challenge includes Army health and safety officers, a major meat processing company, electrical and safety equipment companies, public relations and human resources organisations, audiologists, hearing sector organisations, mayors, councillors and MPs.

“The outreach from all of those people is huge,” Ms Talbot said.

The challenge, now in its fifth year, involves participants wearing bright yellow hearing protectors during four 10-minute challenges - a group meeting, a one-to-one meeting, a social gathering in somewhere like a coffee bar, and watching television with no subtitles.

The Foundation’s landmark Listen Hear! New Zealand report released in February showed 880,000 New Zealanders had some form of hearing loss, which in 2016 cost the Government nearly $1 billion in services and lost revenue, and cost New Zealand $4.9b overall.

Research shows 50 per cent of noise-induced hearing loss suffered by New Zealanders comes from noisy workplaces and lifestyles.

The funds raised by the Silent Leadership Challenge are used by the Foundation to support its work including advocating for the rights of people with hearing loss, promoting full captioning of broadcast media and supporting a range of projects to help those with hearing loss and their families.