A device that allows deaf and hard of hearing athletes to hear the game has had a successful launch in a trial with deaf athlete and QAFLW player, Jamie Howell.
Because athletes with hearing device require protective headgear to keep their device safely in place, traditional kits muffle sounds that make it difficult for them to participate fully in the game.
The innovative device, Hear Gear, has been redesigned from standard headgear by sporting equipment group Steeden, to provide protection without limiting sound.
US multi-national Colgate, recognising the need for change for greater inclusivity, took the initial idea to Steedman and is now backing the project.
“Hear Gear is a real game changer for not only me, but for the deaf and hard of hearing community in Australia and around the world,” Howell said. “Being able to hear the game I play professionally clearly, along with the voices of my team and people who have always supported me, makes all the difference.”
Initially designed for use across AFL, Hear Gear has the potential to extend into other contact sports where head protection is necessary.
A campaign promoting Hear Gear until May 28, is seeking expressions of interest from deaf or hard of hearing athletes to contribute to further development and help Hear Gear accommodate for the unique ways athletes wear their hearing implants.
Deaf and hard of hearing communities can find out more and register at: www.heargear.com.au
Photo: Jamie Howell