There are plenty of charts available online that can tell you how loud things are and how much your poor ears can stand, but there’s nothing better than a decent pair of earplugs to save you from a lifetime of silence. 90-95db is where hearing loss occurs, and that’s not even that tough to find in everyday life. A hand drill is in that range!
Although there are several options for custom moulded plugs, which are fairly common actually, you actually don’t have to spend that much loot.
I recently picked up a pair of these babies from a company called DownBeats. They’re about $15 on Amazon. What attracted me to them initially was the fact that they come with the handy-dandy carrying case, but in real-life situations they’re a life saver. They promise to shave 18db off of the top of whatever you’re listening to, and for my money, they worked great at the last couple of gigs I went to.
There are loads of options in this price range, but the bottom line is: protect your hearing, or wind up like this guy.