In my unit's line of work, the problem was multi-faceted.
First, there was the gunfire, RPGs, etc. Fortunately, we preferred suppressed MP5 and other HK hardware. UNfortunately, our targets/enemies did not.
Second problem was all the transportation modes we utilized. Outboard motors, when they're WOT and you're at the transom, are loud. Real loud. Add between thirty minutes to two ours of solid WOT and you're a wreck before you even get to your objective.
Helicopters aren't a picnic either. Nor are the cargo bays of those $##@%! C-130's. Only plane I ever jumped out of that was louder was a C-141. And worse yet, those insertions had you on those damned planes for two to ten hours. Luckily, you could wear earplugs, but being military issue earplugs. . .
And then there were the flashbangs, C4 charges we used as "universal keys" to unlock stubborn doors, and other noise-makers.
But believe it or not, in actual combat operations, the noise never bothered me--we were far too focused, intense.
When I got out of the service, my hearing was around 90%. Today, thirty-plus years later, it is around 60% and at the end of the day, I have a constant ringing in my ears that lasts from around 6:00 p.m. until I hit the rack at whatever time my insomnia allows me. A few hours of sleep clears the ringing, but it always comes back.
In speaking with the other guys at the occasional reunion, we all pretty much suffered some hearing loss.
But as one of the guys always reminds us, we volunteered. We could've quit at any time during the training that we wanted to.
If every single gun owner belonged to the NRA as well as their respective state rifle/gun association, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today.
So to those of you who are members of neither, thanks for nothing.