Re: What the ear specialist told me...
I'm 51 and I notice that there is ringing in my ears most all of the time. Where I seem to notice a difference is trying to pick up on a particular voice when there is a lot of background noise, especially carrying on a conversation in a crowd.
I wear protection whenever I play... either ear plugs, isolation headphones or sometimes both.
I have been told that the ringing is due to some nerve damage but with care it shouldn't get any worse.
I can't imagine being deaf. To me it would be like losing a limb.