I was swimming a lot during my younger years. Especially during school breaks, my friends and I used to go swimming in the river near our neighborhood often and sometimes in the public pools.
In those early days, I didn’t mind the harmful effects of water entering your ear constantly. The feeling of water impeding your hearing is annoying, but it didn’t bother me that much because it goes away in just a few hours.
I was again in the waters for most of the time daily when I started to train for the half-ironman competition. And again, I didn’t mind using earplugs. And because of my foolishness, I developed ear infection this time. It was painful and discomforting and threw me off my training for two days. I learned my lesson and now wear earplugs anytime I’m in the water.
Most earplugs are either made of polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride. And with so many earplugs to choose from, it can be daunting to select the right pair.
In this review, I will help you find the best swimming ear plugs in the market that suits your preference. You can never go wrong with any of the items listed here. The bottom line is it’ll all depend on the specific features you’re looking for in an earplug. Below are some of the best earplugs which I’ve reviewed after trying them and conducting research online.
Best Swimming Earplugs Compared and Reviewed
#1 - Mack’s Aqua Block Earplugs
I got these Mack’s Earplugs from Amazon for a pretty low price with one extra pair included. It’s not as cheap compared to its competitors like Speedo or Putty Buddies, but it’s reliable in blocking water nonetheless.
In fact, I didn’t experience any water sipping in when I completed a 1,000-meter course. My ears are still dry after an hour or so of swimming.
The materials used are silicone which means ear size is not a problem. It’ll fit perfectly, no matter how old you are.
In addition, these ear plugs are very light and comfortable to wear. After a few minutes in the water, there were times that I didn’t even felt that they were there and forgot that I was wearing them. Yes, it is that comfortable.
I’m not an expert on earplugs, but although it cancels out the surrounding noise, I was surprised how loud the sound of water rushing past my ears was. But by my standards, it isn’t a factor at all.
#2 - Start Smart Soft Silicone Moldable Earplugs
This pair of earplugs is actually the one I’ve first used when I started training. A friend suggested this brand to me and mentioned that it’s perfect for swimmers who just started competitive swimming.
The Start Smart is a delight to wear because aside from the comfortability factor, I feel secured that water won’t sip through from the get-go.
Although other brands essentially offer the same thing, some brands gave me a feeling of doubt at first. Some of them seem wobbly at the first try and feel like it’s going to fall off.
This brand fits in perfectly in any ear size, which include children of all ages. It’s soft but seal-tight and prevents water from coming in while you’re swimming. They are also easy to clean and safe for people with allergic reactions to silicone or plastic rubber.
#3 - Speedo Ergo Earplugs
The word ergo is a well-deserved title for this brand because it indeed fits comfortably and blocks incoming water. Well, nothing out of the ordinary you might say.
But what sets this brand apart from its competitors is the use of extra durable thermoplastic rubber, which allows the plugs to mold extra gently but guarantees to keep your ears dry.
Also, it comes in a beautiful package and simple yet elegant earplug casing.
#4 - SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders plus Filtered Swimming Ear plugs
This earplug stands out from the rest because of its ear-lock retention hooks. The technology is excellent to prevent the plugs from falling.
Also, it has an efficient sealing system that locks the item firmly with your ear canals and prevents the water from sipping in.
Another noteworthy feature is that its sleek design fits perfectly in your ear that no one may even notice that you’re wearing them.
My Number One Pick
How To Find The Best Earplugs For Swimming - Buying Guide
The primary purpose of swimming ear plugs is to prevent water from reaching your ear canals. Aside from the discomfort of water getting stuck in your ear, the ear canals and eardrums can get infected if exposed to contaminated water.
Although all brands provide the same function, there are several factors that you may want to consider to find the best swimming ear plugs that suit your preference.
One example is the materials used in making the product. You see, not all earplugs consist of the same materials. Some comprise wax, foam, plastic rubber, or silicone. These are important factors to consider because there are people who are allergic to plastic or silicone.
In this section of the article, I’ll provide some of the factors to consider in choosing the brands that perfectly suits your preference.
In general, there are three available ear plug sizes. It includes small, medium, or large.
Ear size is not universal. I mean, you have to know your size. You can’t wear small earplugs that are intended for children because it might fall off when you’re in the water.
Feature and purpose
Bear in mind that not all ear plugs are the same. When you see the word earplug, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can use it in water. Some are for noise-canceling purposes only and not waterproof nor water-resistant. I’ll explain what I’m talking about below:
- Foam – earplugs made from foam cancels out noise from your surroundings. It’s ideal if you’re concentrating on your work. But they’re not intended for swimming. Foam isn’t sturdy, and water can still get through if you take them for a swim.
- Conical – from the word itself, these are cone-shaped earplugs. The manufacturers typically make the item out of rubber plastic. These materials are much more reliable in water than silicone. It also has flanges on the surface that tightly seal the ear canals when worn. And with their long and conical shape, it ensures that no water comes in your ear.
- Silicone – if you played silly putty as a child or your kid has one, then this type of earplug may remind you of it. Because they are extremely soft, you can remold and reshape them in almost any way you like. The great thing about materials made from them is that you may not have to worry about ear sizes because of their soft and malleable feature. The only downside though is they tend to become sticky when not stored properly. When this happens, it becomes prone to dirt and germs.
- Customized – these earplugs are specially designed just for you. It means that the item will perfectly fit no matter what your ear size. You can buy these earplugs through healthcare professionals or audiologists. The waterproof capability of the earplugs, however, will still depend on the materials used by the professional. Thus, be sure to disclose the purpose of the earplugs or ask them if it is waterproof.
- Uncorded and corded earplugs – you can also find variances that are either corded or uncorded. Honestly, I never quite understood the concept of corded earplugs because it’s not comfortable. But it’s not for competitive swimming or triathlon for sure because it keeps on getting in the way. I think its purpose is so that the other won’t get lost. Well, I’m not sure; correct me if I’m wrong. But go for uncorded plugs if you’re going to use it for swimming in either way.
Some ear plugs may cause allergic reactions
As I explained earlier, not all brands use the same materials. For this reason—it’s an important factor to consider because some people have allergic reactions to certain items like plastic or silicone.
If you have an allergic reaction to specific material, be sure to check the description to prevent any medical conditions from occurring.
Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming Earplugs
Q: Can earplugs for swimming block sounds, regardless of brands?
A: Any brand of earplug can block a certain level of sound and improve your focus. However, if you need complete silence while swimming, then the brand you should go for is SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders plus Filtered Swimming Earplugs.
Q: Can you use swimming earplugs for other purposes?—like for example, sleeping or obtaining maximum concentration while reading or doing your work?
A: Absolutely, most swimming earplugs are comfortable enough to wear even outside of the water.
Q: Are earplugs for swimming reusable?
A: Yes, but for only a specific period. Silicone-made earplugs get smaller after prolonged use. Since silicone also tends to get sticky, dirt and bacteria may gather in them as time goes by.
Wearing earplugs is a definite essential either you’re an athlete or just a hardcore swimmer. When you’re in the water, you may not be aware that the pool is contaminated and when it gets in your ear, then there’s an increased likelihood that you’ll develop ear infections.
Also, take note that not all earplugs provide the same function. Some aren’t waterproof or even water-resistant. Without these factors, your ear becomes vulnerable from incoming water. Thus, be sure to always check the description before purchasing one.
Lastly, you have to consider the features to select the best swimming earplugs that suit your needs. As explained earlier, different types of earplugs vary from materials used to shapes and sizes. All of which may also deliver unique swimming experiences. While you’re here check out the reviews I’ve done on the best nose plugs for swimming as well.
We also did a comprehensive post on swimming caps and nose plugs, check it out. If you’re slowly becoming a dolphin swimmer, you may want to start tracking your time with a swimming smartwatch too (Make sure it’s waterproof)
Have you had experience with any other swimming ear plugs? Why not let me know below so I can check it out as well!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.