Through tests and surveys, it has been determined that playing the bagpipes or snare drum can lead to hearing loss.
From personal experience, over 4 years of playing about an hour at a time, a few days a week, I lost some hearing
in the frequency ranges of the drones in my left ear! And this was when I was in my early 20s. I now wear ear plugs every time I play my pipes.
The bagpipes have been tested to reach 111 decibles. This is how loud a pneumatic drill is! Indoors, pipes can reach 116. This is as loud as a chainsaw!
Snare drums can hit 122 decibels. This is louder than a jet at take off.
In 2006, the British Ministry of Defence ordered that Army bagpipers are limited to playing less than 15 minutes indoors, or 24 minutes outdoors without hearing protection.
Remember that 15 minutes of exposure to loud noises leads to damage of the parts of the ear that are actively involved in hearing. Always wear hearing protection!