Although the ear has reflexes which protects it against certain types of noise, there is not much it can do when the noise level goes above 120 dB.
The reaction time - 30 to 40 milliseconds - is a limitation in itself, as that is far too little to protect the ear from noise created by human beings.
The combination of three different factors could result in hearing impairment after listening to music:
- The duration of time listening
- Closeness to the source of the sound
- How loud the music is played
No matter how loud the music is turned up when you listen to it, the basic rule is that the longer you listen, the more you stress the muscles in the inner ear. Fatigue of the ear may result in a temporary threshold shift, limiting the amount of quiet sounds that you can hear.
And the more you subject your ears to fatigue, the more likely it is that you will be permanently hearing-impaired.