Best Earplugs for Swimming | Competitive and casual swimmers
If you enjoy swimming, whether on a competitive level or just as a casual swimmer, earplugs might be helpful. We know that water inside the ear canal can lead to ear infections, discomfort and potentially hearing damage. By wearing earplugs when you swim, you can help avoid these issues altogether.
There’s a few things to keep in mind that will help you find the best earplugs for your swim sessions:
What is your budget?
Do you swim mostly in a pool?
Are you often swimming in open water?
Do you swim competitively or just casually?
Will you need to also block out noise, or just water?
No matter how often you swim, there’s a great set of earplugs suited for you. Below are our top earplugs for swimming and why we love them.
If you’ve ever been near a pool, it’s very likely that you’ve heard of the brand Speedo. One of the most trusted brands for bathing suits, swimming accessories and everything pool-related, Speedo also has their own Biofuse Aquatic earplugs.
These are a solid choice for earplugs in the water, especially considering their cheap price. They easily keep out water, keep your ears dry and protect your ears, especially if you find yourself swimming in dirty water.
These are made with ThermoPlastic Rubber and Polypropylene, common materials for swimming earplugs. The design uses multiple flanges so they fit snugly inside the ear. The last thing you want is your earplugs to fall out and sink to the bottom of the pool (or ocean). These earplugs are also slightly different in that they have a “guard” that sticks out and prevents the earplug for being inserted too far into the ear. However, because of their shape, they’re not the best option if you like to swim with a swimming cap.
Plus, these are durable and easy to clean, allowing you to reuse them again and again.
At the end of the day, they’re an all-around great earplug for swimmers.
Any earplug-user knows the name Mack’s, and for good reason! This company make fantastic earplugs that have been listed on numerous of our “best earplug” lists.
These particular ones are the AquaBlock earplugs, designed specifically for use around water, such as swimming, surfing and water sports.
The AquaBlock earplugs are shaped with a triple flange design to get a more secure fit and block water from entering the ear. They also have small grooves at the base of the earplug to make sure water stays out. They’re made of a silicone which is strong and durable, so you won’t need to worry about them deteriorating right away. Of course, all earplugs will need to be eventually replaced, but these have quite a long life.
Just ensure you wash and clean them appropriately and you can reuse them again and again. These silicone earplugs even come with a carrying case so you don’t lose them the next time you’re at the pool or at the beach.
The only (potential) issue with these earplugs is that their noise reduction is high. These earplugs are incredible at blocking out noise, which could be both a good or bad thing. If you need to be aware of what’s around you, these might reduce those sounds too much.
So far, Mack’s hasn’t created a bad earplug product, so you know that your ear protection is in safe hands when you buy their products.
If you’re looking for a different type of ear protection, Putty Buddies floating earplugs might be a great fit for you.
These earplugs are made of a soft silicone that is moldable and custom fitted to your ear. As you can guess, they will float on the water if they’re dropped or fall out of your ears. This bonus aspect is super helpful so you’re not trying to find them at the bottom of the pool (or ocean).
As with other earplugs for swimming, these help prevent swimmer’s ear. As you can imagine, swimmer’s ear is an infection usually caused by water left in the ear after swimming. This will create a wet environment in the outer ear canal that causes bacterial growth.
Because these are made from a moldable silicone material, they easily fit the shape of your ear with this one-size-fits-all design. They also come with three pairs of earplugs so you’ll be set for quite awhile.
As with the other earplugs on our lists, these are reusable as long as they are cared for and maintained.
If you’re still interested in a moldable or putty-type earplug, the Mack’s Pillow Soft earplugs are a great option. We’ve actually listed these in our “Best Earplugs for Sleeping” list because they’re so comfortable and easily block out noise.
Like the Putty Buddies, these swimming earplugs are moldable silicone putty that you shape to fit your ear. This means you’ll get a great fit because they’re custom to you specifically. These earplugs are also listed as the “Official Earplugs for USA Swimming!”
However, putty isn’t always the best at keeping out water, so that’s something to keep in mind. Even still, these non-toxic and hypoallergenic earplugs are comfortable, highly popular and still very effective. They also reduce external noise so they’re helpful when swimming in a loud environment.
Silicone putty like these Mack’s Pillow Soft earplugs are a wonderful choice for those with ear tubes while also protecting the wearer from swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) and surfer’s ear (exostosis). Mack’s is also an extremely trusted name, so you know you’re looked after with them.
Another great earplug option for swimming is the Swim Elite brand. Known for their water sport products, they have a high quality silicone earplug that works great in the water.
They even include a nose clip that helps keep the water from entering your nose. This can make swimming much more comfortable and enjoyable. The soft silicone is a solid and effective material for earplugs, especially in the water. Similar to the Mack’s AquaBlock, these Swim Elite earplugs also have a triple flange design to keep water out of your ears and provide a tight seal. Other reviewers have comments that these can fit both adults and children. Of course, like with all earplugs, you’ll need to try them out yourself to see if they fit your ears properly.
These swimming earplugs also help provide some reduction in sound. This is ideal when swimming lengths in a public pool, or when swimming around loud swimmers and children.
Another thing to keep in mind is the colour of your earplugs. Swim Elite offers blue earplugs, which look great, but would be nearly impossible to find if you dropped them in a pool. It’s recommend to find earplugs that are bright, such as red, yellow or purple, so they can be easily found it they fall out.
Not happy with these earplugs? Swim Elite offers a 90 day 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Want something completely different? Swimming headbands are an option, including the ones from Ear Band-It. These material bands fully cover the ears to keep water out, rather than inserting an earplug. It’s basically a waterproof headband.
These are a fantastic option for children, especially those who cannot wear earplugs, have ear tubes from ear infections or conditions like a perforated eardrum. The Ear Band-It allows the child to have fun in the water while still protecting their ears. Even though they work great for children, adults can still protect their ears from water with these as well.
This type of ear protection would also be great for very small children who aren’t old enough for earplugs but will still be around water.
Best type of material for swimming earplugs
Not all types of earplugs are suitable for water or swimming. When looking to buy earplugs for swimming, keep in mind the type of material used.
Swimming earplugs are a bit different than traditional earplugs in that you don’t need to stress so much about their noise reduction rating (NRR) like you would for earplugs for sleeping. However, their material, design and shape are more important, to ensure they keep water out of your ears.
These are not suited for water use due to their material, so it’s best to avoid foam earplugs when you need a good earplug for swimming. Foam earplugs are fantastic for reducing sound, which make them great as sleeping earplugs. They would also be great for use on a plane or to block out loud music, but not in the water.
Silicone is one of the most popular materials for earplugs for swimming. Most are pre-molded, so you can be a bit rough with them and they won’t lose their shape. They’re also easy to clean and maintain, meaning you’ll be able to use them for a long time before replacing them.
Silicone putty earplugs
Another popular material, silicone putty earplugs are ones that you mold yourself and fit into your ear. This means you’ll get a custom fit each time, but it’s not perfect. These types of earplugs won’t give you the tightest seal against water, especially since they’re not fully in the ear canal. While reusable, these are a bit harder to clean compared to straight silicone earplugs, so you won’t be able to reuse them as much. However, some people swear by these in term of comfort.
If you’re looking for a professional (and expensive) choice for swimming earplugs, custom earplugs are an option. You’ll get these specifically made for you by your hearing healthcare professional. As you can imagine, the seal will be great but at a great cost. As well, these are not easy to replace if you lose them. It’s likely that you’ll get a decent earplug much cheaper online, with the same amount of protection.
As mentioned before, these are perfect for anyone with ear issues, such as ear infections, perforated eardrums, sensitivity to earplugs or cannot wear earplugs for whatever reason. These help protect your ears against water without having to insert an earplug. Of course, they could come loose in more strenuous activities, like watersports, surfing or swimming in choppy water. But these are still a great choice, especially for small children.
Best earplugs for swimming
In the end, it will take some trial and error to find the earplugs that will suit you best. The swimming earplug options we’ve mentioned here are all solid choices, but as long as you find what works best for you, you can enjoy the water so much more than before. Make sure to protect your hearing, keep water out of your ears and enjoy your next swim!
HearStoppers is a blog dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of hearing protection. Many people don’t realise how easily it can be to lose your hearing. Keep your hearing alive with proper protection.