The Disease Control and Prevention Department has said that 40 million Americans have lost some hearing because of excessive noise, half of them, owing to leaf- blowers, machinery, generators, sirens, rock concerts, listening to music with headphones and the volume too loud. 25% of Americans aged 20 to 69 have some hearing loss, or have an inability to hear the softest sounds. The most surprising finding was that 53% of the 3,583 people studied said they had no regular exposure to loud noise in the workplace. So the problem comes in social environments or alone, listening to music blasting forth. Hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes and cancer (Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post)
My wife and I both have “musician earplugs”, which reduce the volume at, say, a concert, but do nothing to alter the quality of sound. We bought them because we were, at the time, writing music together, using the playback function of a music-writing program, which tends to encourage you to up the volume to hear particular passages. They were supplied after hearing tests at the local hospital, which had the earplugs made to suit our ears. But they were not hugely expensive and a good investment to protect one’s ears.