Since people started using ear plugs at work the rate of hearing loss whilst at work has dropped. The concept of health and safety at work has led to the use of personal protective equipment. Unfortunately people are still developing noise-induced hearing loss. This tends to be whilst out and about during their everyday lives instead. Here are several ways in which people are exposing themselves to excessive noise levels.
Motorcycles. Riding a motorcycle can lead to noise induced deafness. This is due to the wind noise generated by the helmet and the noise of passing traffic. Being near to the lorries and other vehicles at high speeds can damage the sensory apparatus of the ear. Wearing earplugs for motorcycles can prevent this problem.
Driving with the top down. Driving with the roof down at high speed can make enough noise to damage hearing. This is more of an issue with classic cars. New models are designed to make less turbulence and therefore less noise whilst driving. The buffeting of wind around columns and sills on old cars can cause pressure waves. These create a shear force across the drum and rapid vibrations which can lead to hearing damage. If you want to stick to your vintage sports car then it's worth investing in a pair of molded plugs to keep your hearing safe.
Clubs, festivals and loud music. It is common for people to spend time at concerts and gigs where the music volume is unacceptably high. This can damage hearing. Unfortunately many people are blasé about this and laugh it off. Noise-induced hearing loss is becoming more common amongst young people. This has also been blamed on the rise of the personal MP3 player.
MP3 Players. It has been in the news recently that deafness amongst young people is on the rise. This has been blamed on the use of MP3 players played at high volume. Volume limitation has been suggested but these are usually optional and education is probably the best option.