Since discovering the Peltor sound reactive compact ear muffs Ive used hearing protection on every hunt (not done with suppressed weapons).
Prior to them it was a bit hit and miss, but I've had Sonic II earplugs since they came out in the 80s.
I now do the audiometry monitoring and compensation at work and can appreciate the need for hearing protection.
I test guys my age who have worked in loud heavy industry for 20 years but who have religiously worn hearing protection and have perfect hearing. As opposed to younger blokes who have neglected their ears and attended loud concerts and worked in noisy workshops without protection who rate very poorly.
My ears have lost specific frequencies due to short sharp noises. It is possible to distinguish between normal age related hearing loss and noise related. Not hard to guess what they were, 303s and Brens in the 70s high power hunting rifles in the 80s. My epiphany on personal hearing protection in the 90s nearly came too late.
My advice for what it is worth as a registered occupational health nurse and qualified audiologist, if you will take it is; buy the best set of noise cancelling earplugs you can get and they will repay you 10 fold before you are my age (54).
Plus if you are like me, wearing them amplifying muffs or earplugs will bring the world alive for you. It is like having glasses that have a zoom function. Brilliant!
It is a small investment when you look at how much you and I spend on the 'noise maker' and optics.