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The Silent Leadership Challenge launches for 2017!

May 31, 2017

Do you ever say, ‘sorry I can’t hear you?’

Being hard of hearing means living with these conditions all the time. Last year, reporter Joanna Griffiths of The Eye participated in The Silent Leadership Challenge and she was certainly challenged on the day of the event. 

Joanna felt frustrated and gained a whole new understanding and empathy for people living with hearing loss. She thought her day would be nice and quiet, however her conversations turned out muffled, she could hear herself chewing her own food, the clicking of her computer keys nearly made her give up on the challenge, but she persevered and came away with a much better understanding of what people living with hearing loss experience on a daily basis.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability and this year The National Foundation for the Deaf are asking for more people to front up and register for this very worthy cause at www.silentleadershipchallenge.com The purpose of the Challenge is to raise nationwide awareness and funds for the Foundation's work to prevent hearing loss and support people with some type of hearing loss.

According to the Listen Hear! New Zealand report released earlier in the year we now have 880,350 people living with hearing loss in New Zealand. Globally, 360 million people (about 5% of the world’s population) live with disabling hearing loss, of whom 32 million are children. The prevalence of hearing loss increases from 1.7% among children to 7% in adults (including 183 million males and 145 million females).

We hope that on the 4th August New Zealanders will take up the challenge and join our previous participants to raise much needed funding. Since the launch of The Silent Leadership Challenge in 2013 we have raised $147,489 and 381 people have participated. This year we hope to raise 50K which will directly support the Foundation's advocacy and prevention work.

Your donation will make a difference: $55 towards Advocacy work, $34 will go along way to helping us raise awareness, and $26 helps us to respond to 0800 Helpline and email enquiries.”

The event, The Silent Leadership Challenge, will see participants tackle three communication challenges at work and one at home while wearing bright yellow hearing protectors to simulate deafness. The ten minute challenges, to be undertaken on Friday 4 August, are a one-to-one meeting, a team meeting, a social get-together and watching TV with the family (without captions). This will only take 40 minutes of your day, but the impact and social change it creates could be life-long.

You don’t just have to do these activities, last year we had organisations raising funds through bake–off events, eating morning tea in silence, charades and even a mufti day at school. The Silent Leadership Challenge helps to address Noise Induced Hearing Loss and helps work colleagues that aren’t hard of hearing to understand what it’s like for their colleagues who do have some type of hearing loss, are deaf or wear hearing aids. We acknowledge time is a factor in everybody’s busy life but the Challenge is a great team building event and many companies participate as part of their health and safety policies. Companies can create empathy at their workplace which contributes to the well-being of all employees.

To take part, register online at www.silentleadershipchallenge.com and aim to raise funds by seeking sponsorship donations from people in your professional and social networks.

Participants will be sent everything they need to tackle the Challenge, including a set of hearing protectors donated by MSA, The Safety Company. For more information contact [email protected], or call Lisa on 021 868 060.

A snapshot of the “Listen Hear! New Zealand” report key findings shows that: 

LHNZ cover v3
  • 1.

    “…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”

  • 2.

    the health sector costs were estimated at $131.8 million

  • 3.

    the total loss of tax revenue was estimated to be $254.6 million

  • 4.

    hearing loss cost the New Zealand economy $957.3 million

  • 5.

    the net value of lost well-being and social impact were estimated at $3.9 billion

  • 6.

    total cost of hearing loss was estimated at $4.9 billion

  • 7.

    the loss of wellbeing was estimated to cost an additional 23,130 disability adjusted life years (DALYs)