You know you're getting old when you start thinking things like, "Those darn kids with their loud rock music." I'm not quiet at that point yet, but I'm getting close. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like the background noise of society is getting louder and louder.
Commercials on TV seems ridiculously loud. The "elevator music" played in shops, restaurants, and yes, elevators is so loud I often feel like I'm in a nightclub, shouting to talk to the person I'm with. When walking or waiting in lobbies, I hear loud conversations between people I don't know about things I wish to know nothing about. On buses and subways I hear the bleed through of those darned kids' loud rock (or hip hip) music.
I've started coping with this by carrying earplugs with me wherever I go. I'll admit that at first, they're a little uncomfortable, but as you become more accustomed to having something in your ear, you can no longer feel them. Since I've been carrying them with me, I've been surprised at how often I reach for them. I can still hear the things I need or want to hear-- like someone speaking to me, but I hear a lot less of the background noise that I don't want to hear.
I use this brand of earplugs from my local drugstore. I'm not paid or endorsed by this company in any way, I'm just vouching that they're one (of many) good brands and conveniently come with their own carrying case.
Carrying earplugs works for me.