Ear plugs are something I didn’t start using until a number of years into my riding. I’d seen and heard that a lot of riders used ear plugs, but I always wore full faced helmets and never thought the wind noise was too bad.
When I started wearing plugs it was like a whole new riding experience. I had no idea how much fatigue and discomfort riding without plugs caused. Especially for long highway journeys, ear plugs are key; they keep you focused on the road and your head clear and present.
Riding with ear bud type headphones is also pretty sweet, and some of my friends swear by it. I’ve never found a pair of phones that did well at noise canceling at the same time as playing sound, so you have to crank the sound up really high, and this makes me worry about potentially damaging my hearing. So if you’re ok with that, go for it. Recently I did find these “plugfones”, I might give them a try.