Cricketing Legend challenges CEOs to front up for the hearing impaired

Kiwi cricketing legend, Lance Cairns, is asking Kiwi chief executives to front up for the hearing impaired by taking part in The National Foundation for the Deaf challenge event that requires them to be hearing impaired for a day.

“We’re asking corporate and community leaders to experience what it’s like to have a hearing disability, for a just couple of hours on one day,” says Cairns, The National Foundation for Deaf Ambassador. Cairns has had a hearing disability himself for most of his life.

The event, The Silent Leadership Challenge, will see the leaders tackle three communication challenges at work and one at home while wearing bright yellow hearing protectors to simulate deafness. The challenges, to be undertaken on Friday 2 August, are a one-to-one meeting, a team meeting, a social get-together and watching TV with the family (without the assistance of captions).

The purpose is to raise nationwide awareness and funds for the Foundation’s work to prevent hearing loss and support people with hearing impairment or deafness.

To take part, leaders register online at and aim to raise funds by seeking sponsorship donations from people in their 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. Staff can nominate their chief executive as a potential participant by emailing the Foundation at

“A hearing disability can cut you off from other people and significantly diminish your quality of life,” says Lance Cairns. “The Silent Leadership Challenge is a way business and community leaders can help create a better quality life for the one in six of us who are hearing impaired.”

The National Foundation for the Deaf chief executive, Louise Carroll, said hearing impairment was an invisible disability. “It’s not noticed and hardly ever talked about. By undertaking the challenge, leaders will help us break the silence around it. From this, we hope that they’ll gain insights into preventing hearing loss and making the workplace more supportive for the hearing impaired.”

The fundraising target for the inaugural Silent Leadership Challenge is $100,000. The money raised will directly support the Foundation’s advocacy, support and prevention work.

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