NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An epidemic of hearing loss could be headed our way and experts say our lifestyles are largely to blame.

Personal listening devices have become a big culprit of hearing loss. In a noisy world, we crank them up to drown out the racket and hear the music. But the trouble is, high volume is little by little, damaging the sensitive cells in our inner ears.

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“We’re anticipating we’re going to see more and more noise-induced hearing loss in a younger group of individuals because of this exposure to loud noise,” said Dr. Ronald Hoffman of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

That’s why the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has launched a PSA campaign with musicians Sting and Chris Botti alerting people to hearing loss and what to do about it.

“When these baby boomers start to realize that they’re not hearing well in a noisy environment, it may be time for them to get their hearing evaluated,” said Hoffman.

That’s what Terrence Shea did. He already has hearing loss and it’s getting somewhat worse as he grows older. The solution? Hearing aids, which many people resist.

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But what most don’t realize is that hearing aids are almost invisible these days.

“After a while, there are times you don’t even realize you’re wearing them,” said patient Robert Apfel.

Doctors say to protect your hearing, turn down the volume, wear ear plugs at loud concerts and do the same for your kids.

If you have a hearing issue, get it checked out.

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