Interesting article from the BBC about hearing issues.
However the problem they particularly talk about the "cocktail party problem" is one I suffer with badly... not that I ever go to cocktail parties ;-)
The problem is the inability to pick out speech against the hubbub of background noise. I really struggle with that - my wife knows it and will sometimes aid me by repeating salient parts of the conversation to me - I'm better one to one but I know that I look at people lips... am I just lip reading?
However to be fair - I'm clearly not a professional musician :-) So maybe I'm outside the influence of this research... I'm not someone who has "never played" and instrument or a professional musician.
I did some years back start wearing earplugs to most concerts - but I've dropped off that a bit, largely as we seem to go to larger venues now, esp The O2 at Greenwich and I find the levels generally less and cause me less short term issues than say places like The Lees Cliff in Folkestone.