There are plenty of people who don’t think of the beach, golf course, or picnic table when they think of summer. Their passion is the summer music festival.

If you’re one of those people — or you know someone who is — there is one note of caution to be considered. Exposure to the kind of high-decibel sound that modern concerts produce can have long-term detrimental effects of hearing.

And hearing loss doesn’t take decades to happen. In fact, a quarter of the 18- to 44-year-old age group in the United States is already dealing with hearing loss issues.

Here are some easy precautions that can be taken:

  • Earplugs are the easiest one, especially if time near the stage — in the pit — will be happening. But really, with modern sound systems, the decibel level anywhere can be an issue.
  • Although cheaper earplugs — even those that some vendors at festivals sell — are better than nothing, try not to skimp. Better earplugs equal better protection.
  • The best earplugs are professional-grade ear molds, which are fitted to your ear by a hearing care professional. They are able to take a beating, inconspicuous, and by far the best defense for your ears.
  • Even with good earplugs, it’s good to give ears a break after exposure to loudness. Festivals usually offer vendors, beer tents, acoustic stages, and even the opportunity to wander around away from the stage and people watch. If it’s not an act that you’re passionate about onstage, taking a walk away from the speaker stack will give your ears some much-needed recovery time.

There’s no going back on hearing loss. More and more younger people are experiencing it and there are no magic bullets to restore hearing. The precautions are fairly easy to take and well worth it.