I brought this up recently, and I was convinced to wear earplugs while riding. (Y'all old posters need to get over the need to b---- at me for bringing up an old topic, which was also discussed a couple of years ago.)
The earplugs have made a world of difference. I'm not freaking out in traffic anymore, and I rely more on visual cues to tell me what to do. I'm using visual hand signals to notify drivers of my intent, and it's working. After all, they are encased in a shell that may or may not allow them to hear my bell or verbal expressions. Also, when I drive, I use my visual sense more (since I am encased during those times), so it makes sense to use it when I bicycle, too.
Hoping that some newbies will consider earplugs. It significantly improves the quality of the ride.