Last night Jane and I went down to help out at the Life Songs gig (rudimentary website — their online operations mainly focus on their Facebook page) put on at the St Clement’s Mish as part of the Overflow youth series. As is often the case at gigs, there was a big space at the front when it started so I went and stood there to encourage others forward. The problem with standing there from my perspective is that, ear level and a few feet away from one of the PA speakers it was way too loud.
Not too worry though — I had my handy ear plugs ready to insert. They are a decent grade of plug, which deal with the aural assault but still allow clear hearing of what is going on. If anything, the sound is too clear and you get to hear the fuzzy details of the playing which even the band themselves probably miss. It does detract a bit from the experience but I am willing to trade that to avoid post-gig ringing in my ears, which is a sign of permanent hearing loss.
Nowadays I generally choose quieter gigs where I don’t need the plugs but it is handy to have them when needs must.