Noise is all around you, from televisions and radios to lawn mowers and washing machines. Harmful sounds - sounds that are too loud or loud sounds over a long time - can damage sensitive structures of the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss . More than 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous sound levels on a regular basis. Hazardous sound levels are louder than 80 decibels, which isn't as loud as traffic on a busy street. Listening to loud music, especially on headphones, is a common cause of noise-induced hearing loss. Keeping the volume down when listening to music and wearing earplugs when using loud equipment can help protect your hearing.