hey guys...is there anyone else here besides me who is absolutely terrified by the concept of having their hearing damaged?  i never was until i started having trouble hearing conversations in crowded spaces.  mind you, the last time i had it checked, the hearing in my right ear was excellent and the hearing in my left was not as good but still above the average.  on top of that, my ears inexplicably don't sort frequencies properly, so conversations are sometimes unclear despite the fact that my hearing is above average.  i wear earplugs when attending most concerts and have for the past two years. (age 22)

for example, i went to a bar on friday night where the music wasn't jacked up to pain threshold, but it wasn't far below it either.  when i left two hours later, i had that cotton in the ears feeling that you get after a concert.  should i be worried about this?  how do guys deal with all these #@(*ing bars that have their music turned up to jackhammer level?  i even think that most movie theaters have started to turn their sound up to unhealthy levels.  is this just the curse of still having good (if flawed) hearing?
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i should mention that in particular i do a lot of transcribing and am afraid of losing the higher frequencies that help to separate instruments in the mix.  and eventual trouble guaging dynamics
i have ringing in the ears that never stops, it's tinnitus, and it's quite common after age 40. i wear custom musician ear filters that cut -25 db. the filters enable me to still hear most of the high frequencies but the filters protect from further damage. the cheap foam plugs cut all the highs and sound very muffled.
ps

you should always wear ear protection around music, i even wear them when i teach piano lessons.
house ear institute is a place i know about because my drummer andy vermiglio works with them.

they do free hearing tests at namm.

https://www.hei.org/
when i am playing in loud bands or am going to see bands i use ear plugs that you can buy from a chemist (that's a drug store for the yanks) for $4.  they're not the foam ones, but they are rubbery plastic and shaped rather like a small mushroom.  i've been using them for about 15 years, after blowing my ears out in my early 20's drumming in rock bands.  i gather there are better ones made specially for musicians, but these ones work well and are cheap and easy to get on the way to a gig.
well, loss of hearing can be a irreversible.  the hair that causes "hearing" falls out, and won't grow back.  so, it's best to guard your ears as much as possible.

bars are definitely too loud.  i don't understand why people go there since you can't hear your friends speak.. (so you just keep drinking?)  i would guess it doesn't take pain threshold type loudness to give you that cotton ear effect..  probably just the time, and also frequency range.  maybe it's not even the music, but the people trying to speak over the music.  a person screaming in your ear for several hours isn't exactly healthy either.
ears plugs should be standard issue in high volume settings i.e. bars and concerts.  i remember my wife and i being seated in front of a stack of amps at a pat metheny concert and we elected to stand in the back of the concert hall (didn't have plugs at the time).
i have a high frequency loss in both ears, ( i am 56) after surviving the 60's and 70's.  i agree with the above comments.  
you young people can still preserve your hearing.
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