29 January 2019 – The National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD) is holding its first Silent March awareness month in March 2019.
Throughout the month, NFD will be encouraging New Zealanders to be aware of their risk of losing their hearing, provide tips to protect their hearing, and advice on how to help support someone who has a hearing loss.
March 3 is World Hearing Day and NFD wants people to take steps to reduce their risk of hearing loss.
One in six people – an estimated 880,000 New Zealanders – have a hearing loss, including approximately 300,000 people in the working age of 20 to 65.
On that day the National Foundation for the Deaf will host a team at the Round the Bays and is encouraging people to join them.
It will also launch a “buddy card” that assists people with hearing loss to illustrate their needs and provide advice in situations that can be hard to hear – such as noisy cafes and restaurants, and when seeking closed-caption devices at the cinema.
“Kiwis do not realise how much their lifestyle can be putting their hearing at risk,” NFD chief executive Natasha Gallardo says. “Thirty per cent of hearing loss is preventable and there is an alarming trend for younger people to suffer hearing loss, due in part to their exposure to excessive or prolonged noise.
“As the population ages, we need to ensure people with hearing loss are recognised, supported and have access to the tools and services they require.”