One in 2 young people showing early signs of noise-induced hearing loss

A third of Irish people are listening at dangerously high volume levels and for twice as long as is safe

One in 2 young people aged between 18 and 24 are showing early signs of noise-induced hearing loss.

A thirdof 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

The research, carried out by Hidden Hearing among 1,003 adults was commissioned 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; 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.

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.

Advice

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," she said. "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.

"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."