Challenge to highlight noise induced hearing loss


The National Foundation for the Deaf is calling for registrations for its annual online fundraising event on the 4 August called ‘The Silent Leadership Challenge’.

The challenge aims to raise awareness about Noise Induced Hearing Loss in the workplace and the consequences of losing hearing, which can be an invisible disability in the community for the 880,350 New Zealanders with hearing loss.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is caused by single instances of extreme noise and prolonged exposure to noise can lead, respectively, 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.

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, whilst wearing the provided ear protectors.

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 Noise Induced Hearing Loss 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.

The foundation’s ‘Silent Leadership Challenge’ campaign manager, Lisa Talbot says:  “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 85DB and using protectors,” The Silent Leadership Challenge Campaign Manager Lisa Talbot says.

MSA The Safety Company is providing the hearing protectors for The Silent Leadership Challenge.To register for the ‘Silent Leadership Challenge, go to

Upon registration you will be sent a free welcome pack containing hearing protectors to stimulate what it is like to be hard of hearing.

The site also provides a guide to the three short challenges that can be actioned during one working day.

Registrations are still open until 3rd August for the challenge on Friday, August 4th.

The funds raised from the ‘Silent Leadership Challenge’ 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.

For further information  call Ronel Schodt on 021 746 871 or email her on [email protected]

A snapshot of the recent Listen Hear! New Zealand report key findings shows that:
•       “…hearing loss is a significant issue facing the New Zealand population” as 880,350 people in New Zealand now live with some type of hearing loss, representing 18.9% of the population”
•       the health sector costs were estimated at $131.8 million
•       the total loss of tax revenue was estimated to be $254.6 million
•       hearing loss cost the New Zealand economy $957.3 million
•       the net value of lost well-being and social impact were estimated at $3.9 billion
•       total cost of hearing loss was estimated at $4.9 billion
•       the loss of wellbeing was estimated to cost an additional 23,130 disability adjusted life years (DALYs).