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
It is well established that long-term exposure to loud noise can damage hearing, sometimes irreparably.
But few people understand how to assess loud noise. And although sound meters are now available as apps on most smartphones, not everyone is in the habit of using them.
Many people unintentionally damage their hearing by listening to music through headphones for long periods.
To give an idea how sound is measured, a faint whisper clocks in at 30 decibels (dB). Normal conversation is around 60-70dB. Sound becomes dangerous at 85dB. Health and safety regulations govern workplace exposure to noise above this level.
For example, a normal garden lawnmower will generate a sound around 90dB – heavy city traffic around the same. Your ears can tolerate around eight hours of exposure to this level of sound. Anything more poses a risk to your hearing.
Above this level, tolerance levels drop off sharply. A motorbike engine makes a sound around 95dB. More than four hours exposure can cause damage. A chainsaw is typically louder, around 100dB – more than two hours of this will cause problems.
Sounds above 125 dB, such as a siren or a firecracker cause physical pain, while sounds at 140dB, such as a gunshot or a jet plane at take-off, pose an immediate risk to hearing.
Here are some other sample sound levels and tolerances:
105 dB: Jackhammer, helicopter – one hour maximum
110 dB: A snowmobile – 30 minutes
115 dB: A baby’s cry, roar from a stadium football – 15 mins
120 dB: Rock concert, sandblasting – 7.5 minutes
In order to protect your hearing, Hidden Hearing recommends that you follow the 60/60 rule, to listen to music devices through headphones for a maximum period of 60 minutes at 60% volume.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your hearing healthcare, you can make an appointment to have a hearing evaluation conducted free of charge at any of the 65 Hidden Hearing branches nationwide. To book call 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie