OK, so Sunday night was when I realized that I am "old." Let me explain -- I went with a friend to a concert in a small venue, and it was great, a band that I had never seen before. But my ears hurt so badly when we left. In fact, they didn't stop ringing until the middle of the day today. This realization got me thinking about what I tell my students all of the time -- "turn down the volume." I have lost track of how many times I have asked this of students, because I should not be able to hear your music when you have ear buds in your ears.
The reason that I am bringing this up is that exposure to noise over an extended period of time can damage your hearing. Below is a chart of typical sound levels. Now, keep in mind that so far I have not done a lot myself to protect my hearing (other than making sure that the volume on my iPad and in my car is not too loud), but it is something to think about. So next time, I just might be the cool kid in the back of the concert with ear plugs, but hopefully when I much older, I will still be able to enjoy the music.