Excessive exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in more than 28 million people. Check out this link from hearingloss.org that shows how the ear works, and how damage to the hair cells in your ear can lead to permanent loss of hearing.
One of the biggest culprits for contributing to noise-induced hearing loss? Headphones. Headphones can amplify noise to over 90 dB. And overexposure to noise at that level can lead to permanent hearing loss. When you can hear the sound that the other person is listening to over their headphones, expect that they are listening to more than 90dB already. If that person continues to use their headphones for more than 60 minutes at the said rate, they will develop noise induced hearing loss sooner.
In-ear headphones, like ear buds, are more dangerous to the ear than over the ear headphones. This is because ear buds bring the sound directly into the ear canal and can damage the tiny hair cells in your ears. To listen to headphones safely, follow the 60/60 rule. Listen to no more than 60 percent of the maximum volume for a length which does not exceed 60 minutes.
Legendary rock star Pete Townhend of The Who has publicly shared about his hearing loss. After decades of exposure to extremely high volumes at concerts, he now has permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Pay attention to your surroundings today. What noises do you notice? Are there any loud sounds that you are exposed to on a daily basis? Or are there sounds your friends or family members are exposed to each day? What can be done to help lower the volume? What other things can you do to protect your hearing?