See the thing is, hearing damage is cumulative and can take time to fully show up. You WERE damaging your hearing all those years you were going to rock concerts with no hearing protection. It probably happened slowly and that's why you didn't notice it, but by the time you started using the earbuds you probably needed to have them at a volume that would be unsafe just so that you could hear them. Adding that to your already borderline hearing was probably just the straw that broke the camel's back. But there's no guarantee that if you'd used regular headphones instead of earbuds that you WOULDN'T have the ringing and the hearing loss now. It's just a progression of the damage you've done over the years.
If you're going to use any headphones at all, you should be aware of the potential danger of very loud music that close to your eardrums. Don't use the headphones 24/7 and when you do, keep the volume reasonable. Personally, I don't use earbuds just because they're so uncomfortable! But I just can't see how the inch (maybe) of difference in proximity to the eardrum between buds and regular phones could make that much of a difference at all.