After you are exposed to any loud sound for several minutes, give your ears a break. Vibrations from loud noises can cause free radicals in the blood stream to damage the hair cells inside the ears. Once hair cells are damaged, they won’t grow back. But being surrounded by less noise—for a few hours or days—after that initial exposure to loud noise gives the inflammation caused by the free radicals a chance to abate. It’s a noisy world out there. If you know that you are going to be exposed to a loud environment, such as a lawn mower or a chain saw, you can wear earplugs or protective earmuffs. You can’t always avoid loud noises, but it does feel good to hear the quiet again.