media release

Formula One Star supports Health Campaign

Formula-One-star-supports-health-campaign-Hear-the-World-Foundation

Staefa, Switzerland, May 30, 2011

British Formula One racing driver Jenson Button is the latest famous face to give his support to Hear the World, a global campaign helping to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and the consequences of hearing loss.

The McLaren driver, who won the 2009 World Drivers’ Championship, joins a host of big names including Take That, Jude Law, Elle Macpherson and Annie Lennox who have all been photographed by musician and campaign photographer Bryan Adams holding the Hear the World pose - one hand cupped behind their ear to convey conscious hearing.

Hear the World is now one of the biggest ever celebrity supported health campaign, with 50 high profile celebrities all lending their support to raise awareness about the importance of preserving your sense of sound.

Button said: “The ability to hear well and connect with the world around us can have a huge impact on our quality of life, yet many people don’t understand the risks they expose their ears to every day. It’s essential that people understand the importance of protecting their hearing today to prevent hearing loss in later life, something I am very aware of in my line of work.”

With the sound levels in the cockpit of a Formula 1 racing car measuring around 140 decibels, all drivers wear special ear protection to protect themselves from the considerable noise exposure.

Button continues “Despite the extreme sounds associated with motorsports, I still heavily depend on my hearing to ensure I perform at my best - whether it’s fine tuning the car before the race or communicating with the team on the track. Hearing protection is essential to maintaining a good sense of hearing.”

Spectators at the trackside of a F1 event must withstand high noise levels with the sound of the engines, even at a distance of 15 meters, reaching up to 125 decibels.

Alexander Zschokke, Interim CEO of Phonak, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer, said: “The roar of the engine is music to the ears of many Formula 1 fans so hearing protection is often an after-thought, something which can have serious consequences. Exposure to noise levels of 100 decibels, even for as little as 15 minutes, is enough to put someone at risk of irreversible hearing damage”.

In the UK an estimated 8.5 million people are affected by hearing loss but struggle for up to 15 years before seeking advice – despite their being a range of effective and sophisticated solutions available. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can have a significantly negative effect on a person's social, emotional and physical wellbeing.