This is an important topic. I fully agree that most people are unaware of the auditory damage unusually high sound levels can provoke. I sometimes carry earplugs myself to loud parties (or make them on the go) but my friends think I am a fool. I often reply "if you only you knew what I know..."
Jon Boley already mentioned the evidence published by Liberman and collegues that exposure to loud sounds can produce permanent and irreversible loss of auditory nerve fibers (Liberman et al. 2009; Furman et al. 2013) that may be clinically unnoticed. I would like to add that we have shown that this type of damage (deafferentation) probably explains why people ofter report that they "can hear but not understand" (Lopez-Poveda & Barrios, 2013).
You may find some relevant publications in the following links:
El 14/10/2013 1:43, Jon Boley escribió:
-- Enrique A. Lopez-Poveda, Ph.D. Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León Departamento de Cirugía, Facultad de Medicina Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Salamanca Universidad de Salamanca Calle Pintor Fernando Gallego 1, 37007 Salamanca, Spain Phone: (+34)923294500 ext. 1957. Fax: (+34)923294750 Website: http://audiolab.usal.es http://fundacion.usal.es/audiologia