The need to wear swimming ear plugs is often brought about by necessity rather than choice for many swimmers.
Whether you're a regular in the pool or a keen open water swimmer, finding a pair of waterproof ear plugs isn't really at the top of your priorities – until you suffer from an ear irritation.
While it's true that conditions such as swimmer's ear are most likely to affect children, adults can also suffer from it. Anyone who has had it before will be quick to tell you how pleasant and uncomfortable it can be.
But with so many options out there, how do you know which swimming ear plugs to buy? We've put together a list of frequently asked questions below, to help you keep your ears healthy in the water.
What are the best swimming ear plugs for me?
The main worries swimmers have when considering the use ear plugs are how uncomfortable they may feel, or whether they will fall out mid-swim. The good news is that there is a wide selection of high quality professional swimming ear plugs that will do the job perfectly.
Try to avoid foam earplugs. Yes, they're cheap and they will probably help you get a good night's sleep, but they are not very effective once you're in the water.
Silicone ear plugs for swimming will be far more resilient and effective. All the top swim brands produce ergonomically-designed plugs that use a soft silicone structure which adapts to the shape of the ear. They will also offer two individual plugs shaped specifically for the left and right ear.
Why is ear protection for swimming important?
If you've ever suffered from swimmer's ear, chances are you've also looked for swimming ear plugs.
Swimmer's ear is an unpleasant condition caused by trapped water inside your ear, which allows bacteria to start multiplying in your ear canal. Early symptoms include itching, redness and swelling, and can develop to become inflamed and painful.
A common misconception is that open water swimmers are more likely to develop swimmer's ear because of the cleanliness of the water. This isn't true – it's the wetness inside the ear that causes the trouble, not the water quality.
It is true that children are more likely to get swimmer's ear due to their narrower ear canals. But that's not to say that adults aren't at risk too.
Are there specialist kids swimming earplugs available?
Most swimming ear plugs come in a universal size to fit most shapes of ear, but there are brands who specialise in junior ear plugs.
They are ergonomically designed for a comfortable outer ear fit, and come complete with a handy carry case to keep them safe and clean when not in use. A selection of bright and funky colours are also available.
What alternatives are there to swimming ear plugs?
If you just can't get used wearing ear plugs in the water, there are alternative options available for swimmers.
Earol Swim Oil can be applied to both your ears before getting into the water. This natural blend of olive oil, mineral oil and tea tree oil is delivered in the form of a mist spray.
It effectively provides an 'invisible ear plug', creating a natural water-resistant coating which allows your ear to self-drain after leaving the swimming pool.
Although olive oil is a natural product, we do advise you to consult your doctor before using Earol Swim Oil, particularly if you have a history of outer ear conditions.
How can I prevent swimmer's ear?
Specialist swimming ear drops are available to help dry out water that is trapped within your ears after a swim.
Products such as Swim-eze Ear Drops get to work within seconds and help to quickly eliminate the unpleasant and painful symptoms of swimmer's ear. Simply apply four or five drops in each affected ear. Any trapped water will evaporate, which will reduce the risk of developing a painful ear infection.
Divers also find this product useful to help with equalising issues, and it's suitable for any water sports where your ear gets clogged up with excesss water.
However, it is important to remember not to use ear drops such as these if you already have an ear infection, and to consult your doctor if any pain or irritation occurs, or if you're in any doubt.
What are the best swimming ear plugs?
ProSwimwear are proud to supply ear plugs from all the leading brands. Here are five recommendations.
One of our best-sellers is the Speedo Biofuse Aquatic Earplug, which uses biofuse technology and an ergonomic design to deliver a comfortable fit and improved seal. It is designed for easy insertion and removal, and is free of both Latex and PVC.
The Arena Earplug Pro uses an innovative three-ring design to prevent water getting in your ear. The rings are sized differently, so the larger ring prevents the plug from being pushed too far inside the ear.
Arena Dome Ear Plugs (pictured) use a patented membrane design for a comfortable seal, and are made from 100% thermo plastic rubber. They are great for transmitting sound, so you can still hear while you're swimming, and come in a variety of colour choices.
The Mad Wave Ergo Ear Plug promises a snug and comfortable fit thanks to an ergonomic design and soft silicone construction. It also has a hollow central channel, so water can be kept out without your hearing being impaired.
Beco Lamella Earplugs offer a cost-effective alternative. These silicone ear plugs have a double seal design, and come with their own carry case.
Read our best swimming earplugs reviews from customers
Would you like to hear what our customers have got to say about our ear plugs? Check out these swimming ear plug reviews for Speedo Biofuse Aquatic Earplugs, Arena Dome Ear Plugs, Mad Wave Ergo Ear Plug and TYR Youth Multi-Coloured Silicone Ear Plugs.