That question came up from daughter; my thought was that even if you couldn't have your hearing damaged, the pressure pulse from shots could be a problem, so asked around. Answer is 'Yes'.
But I am deaf. And I’ve been deaf for as long as I can remember, so I
know that pretty well. Despite my deafness, I still wear hearing protection when I shoot, and I’d like to tell you why . . .
My ears were instantly ringing. It wasn’t my 9mm, as I hadn’t even
squeezed off a round yet. Some fellow, with his bolt action rifle,
caliber unknown, had put out his target on the 100 yard line, and
proceeded to sight in his gun. I shot mine, and the percussion seemed
more intense than usual. The rifle to the left though…every time he
fired, the ringing started anew and a sense of nausea began to grow.
I couldn’t take more than 15 minutes of it. Vertigo was kicking in
big time. The tinnitus sounded like every air raid siren in Honolulu was
going off, a cold sweat was breaking out. I was going to be lucky to
make it out of the range without chucking lunch all over the shop floor.
I’m fine now. It took a week or two for the tinnitus to fade away. The
headache, the nausea, the vertigo, all eventually receded. But left
behind was an indelible lesson: ear protection isn’t just for protecting
your hearing. Aside from hair cells inside your cochlea that turn sound
waves into signals your brain translates into auditory input, there’s a
lot more going on. And that protection helps make sure your body can do
that for a long time. There are bones, fluids, tubes…all kinds of
physiological processes going on that make for a bad time if you don’t
protect them when you go out shooting.
My range has always had a rule: 'You go on the firing line, you wear hearing protection. Period. Don't care if you're deaf.' Partly it's the general principal, partly nobody wants to hear "Hey, he's not wearing any, why should I have to?" Turns out there's other good reasons.