Dolores has been a leading figure in the hearing healthcare sector for the past 27 years, having first qualified as an accountant technician (MIATI) and then studying audiology and qualifying as an Audiologist (ISHAA, MSHAA) in 2002.
She has worked across all aspects of the business within Hidden Hearing, serving as Operations Manager for 4 years. For six years she was Branch Manager/Senior Audiologist for the Cork Branch, and Team Leader for six audiologists in the Southern Region.
A leading media commentator on hearing loss issues, Dolores Madden planned and implemented Hearing Awareness Week. Running since 2007, this annual event has significantly raised the issue of hearing loss on Ireland’s health agenda.
She also launched the Hidden Hearing Heroes awards scheme in 2011, a CSR initiative to recognise unsung heroes in communities across Ireland.
Find Out More About Dolores
Irish Mobile Phone Users Risking Serious Hearing Damage by Setting Volume Levels to the Max
- 1 in 2 young people aged 18-24 showing early signs of noise-induced hearing loss -
Wednesday, 22nd February 2017: A third (33%) of Irish people who prefer to listen to music on their mobile phone and MP3 player are listening at dangerously high volume levels and for twice as long as is safe, with one in four (26%), experiencing symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss – new research by Hidden Hearing reveals today.
The research among 1,003 adults was commissioned by Hidden Hearing to mark World Hearing Day on Friday, 3rd March and to drive awareness for Hearing Awareness Week, a national health campaign that highlights the issue of hearing loss, with free hearing tests being offered throughout the country from 6th – 10th March.
Hearing experts recommend that people follow the 60/60 rule when listening to music on personal devices like a mobile or MP3 player; that’s listening at levels up to 60% of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes a day.
However, the Hidden Hearing research reveals that Irish people listen to music on their mobile or MP3 player for almost two hours (113 minutes) a day on average, with a third (33%) listening at dangerous sound levels of over 100 decibels (dB), the equivalent of a jet airplane taking-off or a rock concert.
The research spotlights the extreme ‘risky listening’ habits of Irish people, with young people aged 18-24 years listening to music via their mobile phones at ‘dangerous decibel’ levels.
– The majority (71%) of young people aged 18-24 years prefer to listen to music via their mobile phone for 2 hours, 5 minutes a day – twice the recommended limit
– Almost one in five (17%) deliberately set the volume to the maximum loudness
– Four in ten (42) have experienced ringing and buzzing in their ears and risk causing permanent damage to their ears. Tinnitus (ringing in ears) usually begins at 127 dB and can be an early indicator of hearing loss
– Almost one in ten people aged 25-34 years would not be worried if they had permanent ringing or buzzing in their ears: demonstrating a clear lack of awareness of the damage and risks associated with sustained exposure to loud noise
Almost half of Irish adults (48%) listen to music on their personal device using in-ear earphones, which can potentially cause more hearing harm than headphones. This climbs to 74% among a younger audience of 18-24 year olds.
Dolores Madden, Audiologist and Marketing Director with Hidden Hearing warns that young people will have to face the music of premature hearing loss if they don’t turn the volume down, “If you suffer ringing in the ears or buzzing after listening to loud music, that tells us that the damage is already done. Our research paints a worrying picture for the long-term hearing health of younger people especially. An EU study claims by 2020 it may be commonplace for up to 10% of 30 year olds to be wearing a hearing aid and our latest research in Ireland certainly supports that trend. The volume limits are there on our phones and MP3 players to protect our hearing, but it’s frightening to see so many Irish people – particularly young people – ignore or disregard them.
Watch our video above on the street survey, recently carried out by Hidden Hearing & Empathy Research.
“Listening to loud music a lot on your mobile phone can cause hearing damage, especially if in-ear buds are used as these offer less protection than headphones. With buds, it’s not so much the noise, but the sound pressure that can cause the damage. The bud is inserted in the ear, so the pressure goes straight into the inner ear canal and that can be dangerous if listening for long periods at maximum volume, which a worrying number of Irish people are doing. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to one third of hearing loss in the world’s population is preventable, so boosting awareness is hugely important”, Madden adds.
Mobile Phones – No.1 for music listening
More than three times the number of people prefer to use their mobile phone to listen to music to, usurping MP3 players and iPods. Almost half listen to music via their mobile (44%), followed by iPod (13%) and MP3 player (12%).
Other research highlights:
- On average Irish people listen to music via a personal device for 1 hour 53 minutes a day, with the average listening session being 1 hour 3 minutes (twice that recommended).
- 41% of people who listen to music on their personal device at maximum sound level, are listening for an hour or more every day, so risk serious hearing damage.
- One in four (26%) Irish adults have experienced ringing/buzzing in the ear with one in five (19%) experiencing this after listening to music on their personal device.
- This goes up to one in three among those who listen to music at maximum volume.
- A third of people (34%) use headphones, with one in four using Bluetooth/wireless speakers (25%).
Hidden Hearing Top tips to protect your hearing while listening to personal devices:
Tip 1: If you are listening with headphones to your personal device and someone is talking to you in a normal voice at arm’s length away, you should be able to hear them clearly
Tip 2: Set a safe listening limit on your devices. Go to settings to override the 100dB (decibel) volume limit setting
Tip 3: Observe the 60/60 rule – listen at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day
Tip 4: Take regular breaks
About Hearing Awareness Week, with Hidden Hearing:
Hearing Awareness Week is a major national campaign that highlights the issue of hearing loss and how it’s a key part of overall health and wellness. 2017 marks the 10 Year Anniversary of Hearing Awareness Week, and it will run in five cities from 6th – 10th March. In Ireland, 1 in 5 people aged over 60 in Ireland have a significant hearing loss and there’s been a huge increase in the number of younger people presenting with hearing issues. Hearing Awareness Week is sponsored and run by partners Hidden Hearing, Active Retirement Ireland, The Irish Heart Foundation and Diabetes Ireland. Register for your local event here.
We have a number of interesting case studies to speak to this research, ranging in age from 20s to 60s available for interview as well as a Hidden Hearing Audiologist.
Research was conducted by Empathy Research through an online survey across a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults aged 18+. Quotas were placed on gender, age, social class and region with weighting applied to ensure final data was representative of these quotas. Fieldwork was conducted from 3rd – 9th February 2017 with a sample size of 1,003 results in a margin of error of +/- 3.2%