... for a hearing test and getting ear mold impressions made for a set of custom-made musicians' earplugs.
I've been a big fan of Etymotic's over-the-counter high-fidelity earplugs for a number of years now, but they get a little uncomfortable to wear after a couple of hours. These will give me better protection and greater comfort.
Our drummer lost his hearing in his right ear not due to his drumming, but because of an acoustic neuroma (a benign tumour), and the removal of it resulted in complete hearing loss on his right side. He now takes very special care of the hearing he has left in his remaining ear, and uses one of these ear plugs religiously while playing and attending shows.
This has motivated me to go the extra step and get a set of custom plugs made... i really like hearing stuff, and hope to do it well into my old age. But standing in a small room with a loud drummer and really loud amps isn't a good way to prolong my hearing. Other than our drummer, i'm the only one in the band who uses any form of hearing protection, though our bassist is also thinking of getting a set of custom-molded plugs.
If you don't already use hearing protection, i would encourage you to do so. Once hearing loss starts, you never get it back.
I always wear ear plugs at gigs, whether I'm in the band or not.
I'll have to try some of those OTC ones. I've been using the little xmas-tree shaped ones for a few years now. Hear-O's I think.