I've been wearing earplugs at almost every show I attend for the past few years. I'm lucky because at 64, I still have no hearing issues. And I've attended many shows over the years. One that I remember well was Thin Lizzy back in '76 or '77, held in a small theater. My ears were still ringing the next day. Young and invincible (and many times dumb).I bring earplugs to every gig these days. If the show is loud I put them in and in those cases, I find the show to sound better with earplugs in.
I wish I could heed my future advice. As a result of my 20something-year-old exploits, I now have some pretty good tendonitis in my 50's.