From the morning commute to walking through town to working out, MP3 players have millions of Americans jamming to personal playlists.
Lisa Potts uses her MP3 player every time she hits the gym. She says it helps her focus on her workouts.
"It's motivating and it's actually some private time that I have where I'm not interrupted by other people or distractions," says Potts.
But while you're busy turning up the tunes and drowning out distractions, you could be doing permanent damage to your hearing.
"The higher the intensity of the sound, the shorter the safe period of time to use it," says Dr. Daniel Landes, an ear nose and throat specialist.
Sound is measured in decibels. A quiet room comes in at about 40 decibels; a vacuum cleaner registers right around 70 decibels.
Prolonged exposure to sounds over 90 decibels, or the equivalent of a motorcycle, can cause gradual hearing loss, and MP3 players can reach anywhere from 60 to 120 decibels - as loud as a jet plane takeoff.
"The intensity of the sound the amount of sound going in can be damaging to the hair cells, the nerve endings of the inner ear which pick up the sound. Basically, the hair cells die off, and as best we know right now, they don't come back," says Dr. Landes.
Dr. Landes explains that the small, lightweight earbuds that most people use with their MP3 players don't block out a lot of background noise, so to hear the music, people wind up cranking the volume louder than they realize.
"I think they need to be conscious of the fact that if they're not careful, there's a tendency to make it louder, make it louder, make it louder," Dr. Landes continues.
Mary Dreyer, a speech therapist at Hollymead Elementary, says it's especially important to make sure kids and teens are listening to their music safely, or they may develop noise-induced hearing loss as they grow older. She says many listen to music too often and at too high a volume.
"Kids who are listening to mp3 players kind of do it all the time. It's different than listening to the radio or something," she says.
So how loud is too loud? Dreyer says, it really depends on how long and how often you listen to your MP3 player, but as a general rule, if someone else can hear it, your music is too loud.
"If parents can hear the sound coming from earphones or earbuds, it's too loud. And over time, certainly a person's hearing will deteriorate," says Dreyer.
"If you find yourself continuously turning it up to compete with background noise, that's a little warning sign that you should do something different," says Dr. Landes. "Don't be offended if somebody around you says, 'Maybe you should turn that down a little bit. I can hear it all the way over here.'"
Both Dr. Landis and Mary Dreyer have the same advice to safely listen to your music.