People my parents' age -- those who grew up on The Beatles and Elvis and dreamt of Woodstock -- were probably the first generation who wanted their music loud. They were also the first to have the technology to crank it up properly, tinkering with Hi-Fi (and later Stereo) sets to the chagrin of their parents who were used to Victrolas (if they had boom boxes at all).
Generation X also cranked it up, but the irritation we caused our boomer parents were of a different sort. They were cool with loud, they just weren't prepared for the skipping and surfing made convenient by CDs and digital radio tuners.
Gen Y and beyond have gone back to quiet, with the proliferation of tiny MP3 players. My only concern is that they'll grow up with a lack of appreciation of real sound quality. MP3 is convenient, but nothing beats a real vinyl recording played on a kickass sound system.
Anyway, US boomers are getting old and losing their hearing. Enough of them that Patti Smith has a foundation to deal with it. Here's the story from the NYTimes.