A YORK charity is asking people to “switch off their ears” at a special deaf awareness event this weekend.

Representatives of the charity Lollipop will be in St Sampson’s Square with the Yorkshire Belles double-decker bus from 11am to 4.30pm on Sunday to hand out earplugs to shoppers.

Andrea Gitsham, founder of Lollipop, said the aim was to raise awareness of the isolation deafness can cause by encouraging people to experience it for themselves.

She said: “It’s very difficult to imagine deafness because it’s impossible to switch your ears off. However, carrying out a few fun tasks while wearing the earplugs will give an impression of moderate hearing loss and the difficulties that deaf people face.

“Lollipop hopes the experience gained will encourage a wider understanding of deafness and help to break down barriers of isolation.” Also available at the event are tickets for a prize draw to win Marks & Spencer vouchers, tickets to York City Screen cinema, and a collectable Victorian dolls house, which was donated to the charity by supporter Annie Stubbs.

The house is on display at locations around the city, including Vanilla Café in College Street, French House in Micklegate, and The Miniature Scene in Fossgate.