Your hearing is one of the most valuable things you have. If you lose it, there’s no way to get it back.

Hearing loss can occur in a variety of ways, including from ways that can’t be prevented such as old age. One of the most common and preventable factors that contributes to hearing loss is exposure to prolonged loud noises, such as construction equipment, your lawn mower, and even concerts.

Concerts expose us to loud music, and we probably don’t think about how it’s affecting our hearing because hearing loss isn’t necessarily a painful process. It’s slow and happens without warning. How much risk we take damaging our hearing listening to music depends on several factors. At a concert, it depends on long you are exposed to the loud music, how close you are to the speakers, and how loud the music is.

Concerts can be an amazing time. The energy is intoxicating, and the band is probably someone you really enjoy listening to. There’s a sense of excitement and fun, and also a need to be cool. Wearing ear plugs at a concert might seem like a dorky thing to do, but it’s worth it to save your hearing. It might also seem like it’s counter intuitive. After all, you’re going to the concert to hear the music, if you’re wearing earplugs, won’t it block out the sound?

Honestly, it depends on the ear protection, but most concerts are loud enough that you’ll be able to hear the music without any problem. Yet, earplugs will help filter out certain sounds that can damage your hearing. Concerts generate 100 to 120 decibels of sound, and noise of more than 110 decibels can cause hearing damage in as little as two minutes. If a concert is 2 hours long, there’s more than likely going to be damage done to your hearing. Symptoms include ringing in your ears, pain, or temporary deafness. With prolonged exposure, these cannot be reversed.

Because your hearing is so important and because hearing loss is irreversible, musicians have been encouraging concertgoers to wear earplugs and even make them available at their concerts. In 2012, rapper Plan B and Chris Martin backed a campaign for earplugs and encouraged all concert goers to think about their hearing and protect it.

Hearing loss is a serious condition. However, with preventative measures, you can alleviate the threat altogether or stop it from getting worse. Wearing earplugs to a concert is a great way to help protect your hearing.