Every time I ride now I wear hearing protection. I was a daily commuter in the 5th largest city in the US for 12 years. Hearing protection does NOT make it more difficult to hear traffic or emergency vehicles. It does cut way down on wind noise though. The EAR buds are OSHA rated so they cannot get too loud. Properly fitting hearing protection is comfortable. They're your ears. The beauty of damaging hearing is that it doesn't happen immediately. Ever have ringing in your ears after a ride? Highway speeds + helmets make a lot of noise. I did a lot of damage to my ears breaking the ton to Daytona on an inline-4 running an open header. I am very interested in preserving what hearing I still have. YMMV.