When I was younger I would blast headphones into my ears for hours on end. Nothing could stop me from drowning anything that had to do with the real world. These days I make sure the volume never goes past eight. When I perform my ear holes are fresh to the wind but for the rest of my time in any venue I have Etymotic ER20BP earplugs securely in place. That said I recommend that any musician get a proper hearing test at least once in his/her life. Besides knowing how deaf you maybe, dramatic hearing loss could be the sign of other real diseases.
I always say my secret to my own mixing is that my ears are so dulled out with hearing loss that when something sounds good to me it must sound really good to everyone else. I’m sure that’s b.s. but I’m sticking to my story. If you don’t want to head to the doctor for a proper test yet you could try out a new iPhone app called Audiometry (iTunes link).
“An effective hearing test that measures your threshold of hearing for sounds of different frequencies. Find out just how far your ears can hear ranging frequencies. Most of the people should be able to hear up to around 15kHz. From around 17kHz upwards, we get into a range that only the under 20s can hear.” – igoapps.com
For more info: www.bna.co.il
Related post: How loud is loud? Learning about dB will help you.