Hearing loss challenge raises workplace awareness

Monday, 17 July, 2017

Hearing loss challenge raises workplace awareness

Noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace is the focus of a leadership challenge fundraiser by The National Foundation for the Deaf in New Zealand.

Approximately 880,350 New Zealand citizens experience hearing loss, and the Silent Leadership Challenge is designed to raise awareness about the issue.

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

“We’ve found that 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 dB and using protectors,” said Lisa Talbot, the foundation’s Silent Leadership Challenge campaign manager.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is caused by single instances of extreme noise and prolonged exposure to noise. It can lead to sudden or gradual sensorineural hearing loss, as a result of damage to the sensory cells. NIHL is commonly associated with occupational-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.

Since The National Foundation for the Deaf recently opened registrations for the 2017 Silent Leadership Challenge campaign, 118 New Zealand entities are already demonstrating their leadership in creating awareness about NIHL by registering online to take part in the fundraising campaign. Many of the registrations are made up of teams with hundreds of people participating. These leaders come from the public and private sector, a range of large companies and small businesses, schools and experts in the hearing sector, such as audiologists.

To register for the Silent Leadership Challenge, click here.

Registrations are open until 3 August and the challenge will take place on 4 August. The funds raised will enable The National Foundation for the Deaf to maintain its advocacy work and educate New Zealanders on the impact that hearing loss can have long term.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/philhol

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