There are lots of different types of protection for your ears
Some ear protection is quite specific, like the CENS Digital range for shooting protection. These are designed for the user to be able to hear a rustling in the hedgerow, or a conversation, then receive great hearing protection whilst using a firearm.
Similarly, musicians plugs are designed for the user to be able to hear the same input but at a reduced overall range. They are made not to block out all sounds but to bring down the sound at a relative level.
Hearing in the Workplace
If noise levels in the work place are an issue and hearing protection is required, then a complete hearing conservation program should be instituted. A hearing conservation program includes noise assessment, hearing protector selection, employee training and education, audiometric testing, maintenance, inspection, record keeping, and program evaluation.
If you would like to see the NHS view of reasons to protect your hearing, Click Here.