The ears have their own self-cleaning mechanism; ear wax. The epithelial skin cells in your ear are formed near the middle of the eardrum and move outwards along the canal. The wax traps dirt and debris which is transported to the outside where it can be disposed of by removal with an earbud or finger.
The medical word for ear wax is cerumen. It is an oily substance made by modified sweat glands found in your ear canal.
The wax also defends the skin of the canal against infection. It does this by water-proofing the skin and stopping water and bacteria penetrating. Repeated swimming can cause the lining of the canal to break down, resulting in bacteria getting in. A high quality pair of molded ear plugs will be needed to stop you getting ear infections if you swim regularly. Antibacterial ones are better, like these from ZenPlugs.
ZenPlugs are non-porous and wipe-clean making them ideal for use in the sea or pool. The antibacterial Steritouch is incorporated during the manufacturing process. It kills all the bacteria which cause ear infections, helping to defend you against ear infections. They can be joined together on the cord provided which can be tied to your bag or wetsuit zip to stop you losing them.