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My left ear isn't as good as my right, the result of drumming several nights a week in the early and mid-1990s -- stupidly, without earplugs. If you've ever had your head only a few feet away from a snare drum hit with full force, you'll know why. (Hitting it yourself doesn't diminish the volume.) I've been lucky that my hearing loss is pretty minor, with the only significant consequence being that my wife can't use her (good-hearing) family's tradition of occasionally talking to one another from different rooms in the house.
With the drum cracks, cymbal hits, and nearby guitar and bass amplifiers, my musical career a decade ago was sort of like working in a rifle range. Since returning to that line of work in late 2000, I've played less often (but for more money!), and always wear earplugs now, even though we play more quietly anyway. My advice to you is the same as Wired News quotes in a recent article on noise pollution: wear your damn earplugs.