Like yourself going a bit deaf and have the constant ringing, even after wearing ear defenders for a long time - skipped a few times and this is the result. Recently completed a coaching course and the tutor virtually dismissed the ear plugs out of hand. As he described it, and he is right, the outside of the ear is designed to catch sound and channel it into the inner ear etc. With plugs in the outer ear is still exposed and therefore still focussing sounds to the inner ear, although slightly reduced. However ear defenders cover the entire ear and do not allow for this "channelling" of the sound into the inner ear. Needless to say anyone I coach now has to wear ear defenders and not ear plugs.