I've been playing bass and actively gigging for approx. 25 years, and my hearing has paid the price. I've mostly played pop to hard rock my whole life with slamming drummers and guitar players with screaming half & full stacks. I wouldn't be surprised if I've done north of 500 shows (and attended 500+ more), and only recently started using ear protection in the past 4 years or so. I've had a few hearing tests, I have slight drops in the 4k and 500 hz range. It's still considered normal hearing, but the tinitis is slowly getting worse. I STRONGLY recommend molded musician ear plugs, and molded musician "in-ear" monitors for any gigging musician. The molded ear plugs are roughly $150 and come with either the 9, 15, or 25 db dampening attenuators which are interchangable. The musiciam plugs are designed to cut the overall volume level, without loss of clarity. The in-ear monitors are maybe double that in cost, but allow you to personally tailor your own stage mix and volume. Both completely seal out unwanted noise, and will protect your hearing. You really don't know what you've lost until it's gone. See your hearing specialist today.