I agree - hearing protection is important. My mum worked for years in a hearing clinic, so I got to know all about the importance of ear plugs or similar from a young age. She refused to let me have a Sony Walkman (until I was too old to be able to say no to any more) for that reason. She saw a lot of older people obviously, but also some much younger ones who worked in noisy environments and were suffering hearing loss and tinnitus in their thirties.
I remember on a long high speed day through France one day my ears were ringing loudly all night. I went to a pharmacy next day and bought a box of squishy foam plugs. No more ringing for the rest of the trip, strangely more relaxing to ride like that too.
Always have plugs in now for my commute. Exhaust seems amazingly loud now if ever I do ride without them!