There are many different varieties of swimming ear plug on the market. When it comes to selecting the best earplugs for swimming to prevent swimmer's ear pain, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. To help you find the right product for you, I have some killer inside tips. I have listed the features of the different types of earplugs available.
Why do I need ear plugs for swimming?
Your choice of swimming earplug is important if you are a regular swimmer. Not using earplugs regularly puts a swimmer at significant risk of developing swimmer's ear pain and infection. This is a condition which often starts as itching within the ear. It has the potential to develop into a full-blown infection that requires medical intervention. This could keep you out if the water for a week or more whilst the condition settles and the antibiotics work. You will have the reassurance that all bacteria will be killed during wear if you select a good pair of swimming earplugs. In addition to this, water cannot enter the ear. If you think you may have an ear disorder you must visit your GP.
Molded ear plugs
Molded earplugs are by far the superior choice of earplug. There are several reasons why this is the case, the first of which is their longevity. Through normal use, a good pair of high-end earplugs, such as ZenPlugs, can last the user for years. Secondly, they boast anti-bacterial material. This is proven to destroy the bacteria that can cause swimmer's ear. None of the other types listed here have this property. They are far more hygienic as they can also be washed or wiped clean. Thirdly, molded earplugs are a more cost effective option. Visiting an audiologist for molds to be made can be expensive. ZenPlugs can be made at home by following a simple and straightforward process. They are ready within a matter of minutes. ZenPlugs can be remolded as many times as you like, unlike the silicon varieties.
ZenPlugs come in eye catching colours to make them easy to find. Whether this be at the bottom of your bag, on the floor, or at the side of the pool they are likely to come to hand much more easily. They also come complete with a cord which allows the plugs to be joined together. This superb feature helps to prevent the loss of the plugs during swimming. Most of the other types listed here cannot be connected on a lanyard. This means that if one comes out in the pool or sea you will lose it.
Commonly used during swimming are wax earplugs. Whilst wax earplugs are good at keeping water out of the ears, they are in fact very sticky and leave a residue on the hands and ears. This makes them difficult to put in place. Their stickiness can also cause the plugs to stick to clothes and make a mess inside your bag. Wax earplugs have a short lifespan, lasting no more than a few uses before becoming discoloured and requiring replacement. This makes them an expensive option. Wax earplugs are not suitable for those with longer hair as it often gets caught up in them.
The soft silicon variety of earplugs are similar to wax types in that they are sticky to the touch and last for only a short duration. Foam varieties are not suitable for swimming whatsoever as they are porous and allow bacteria and water to enter the ear.
Another common variety are the rubber flanged Christmas trees. This type are more hygienic and last longer than wax or soft silicon. Unfortunately these are often uncomfortable. The hard rubber handle digs in and the rubber flanges tend to split and come off.
Although they last longer than some of the other varieties mentioned here they tend not to be such a good investment as they can be unreliable. You don't want to get to the pool for a serious session and find that the rubber has split. Without your plugs you might end up with another ear infection. This might keep you out of the water for a week or more.
Some swimmer's and surfers put Blu-Tac adhesive putty in their ears. DON'T! It's quite good for keeping water out but tiny pieces can come off without you noticing. They get stuck in your ear canal and you might need your GP to refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. They will need to get it out using a tiny hook with a long handle or suction.
In conclusion, molded ear plugs are the best. They last the longest, are the most hygienic and are great at keeping water out of your ears. ZenPlugs are particularly good at preventing swimmer's ear as they have a unique double-action. Killing bacteria and keeping water out makes them super-effective.