I (Manda) have recently noticed that my right ear always seems to have water stuck in it post swim and occasionally I also suffer from an inkling of pain in there post swim.
There have also coincidentally been a few bits on social media re surfers ear so taking that and the pain into consideration I thought it was about time to invest in some ear plugs.
I put word out of “outdoor swimming society” and “did you swim today” on facebook asking what people recommended and why. Below are some (there were loads – thanks all!) that were recommended.
From the recommendations it seems that the key requirements for ear plugs are:
Functionality – They work! i.e they stop the water coming in
Comfortable – you want to forget you are wearing them and they stay in!
Sound permeability – They let the sound in. Sensory deprivation can be alarming in open water.
Durability – you aren’t going to have to buy new ones regularly
Affordability – There is a large range but you want value for money
As with most things in life there isn’t a one solution works for all, so the advice from OSS members was to start cheap and then work up if not getting the desired results.
Please feel free to add comments if you have other recommendations or wish to add any comments on the ones already featured
Blu Tack (yep – someone recommended blu tack!)
Where to buy: any good stationers!
£1 a pack!
Positive: Cheapest you will find. Easily replaceable. Mouldable.
Negative: Not sure whether the manufacturers/ear specialists would recommend in ear use! Also can leave behind small bits of the tack.
Where to buy: High street pharmacists and various online outlets
£4 for 3 pairs
Negatives: Don’t last long and can’t hear anything once in.
Positive: Do the job. Mould to the ear.
Where to buy: Decathlon
£2.49 for 2 pairs
Positives: Come with draining case. Brightly coloured so easier to find if lose.
Where to buy: Sports direct and various online retailers
£3 for 1 pair
Comment: “They do the job”
Zoggs (adult and junior)
Where to buy: Various online retailers.
Positive: Cheap and comfortable
Negative: Feedback from OSS members suggested varying levels of durability.
Tip: try the children’s ones if not getting on with the adult ones.
Where to buy: speedo direct or other online retailers:
£7 a pair
Positive: Affordable. Come in variety of sizes. Can hear better than with other under £10 options.
Negative: Very rigid/hard.
£15 – £20
Positive: Quick to do and surprisingly easy.
Negative: Not ready to go out the packet.
Where to buy: Directly from SurfEars
£50 a pair
Negative: Priciest non personalised on market
Positive: Strap to keep pair together. Still can hear. Come in 3 size options.
Where to buy: Online retailers or direct from finis.
Positive: can hear decent amount with in. On a string so less likely to lose.
Where to buy: Directly from swimears
Positive: Easy to use. Durable. Come in 3 sizes.
Negative: Found it hard to work out how to put them in.
Specsavers custom made plugs
Where to buy: Go into local Specsavers
Negative: 3 week wait for manufacture and then might not be right so might have to go through another 3 week wait.
Positive: Affordable high-street accessible personalised option.
This can range in cost and might need a GP referral but definitely appears to be the cheapest option if you want someone to make you customised plugs.
Alternatives to ear plugs.
If you don’t get on with earplugs then there was some other suggestions:
- Neoprene hats/2 hats. This helps stop the water getting anywhere near the ear but might not be as effective as ear plugs but worth a try if you don’t get on with plugs.
- Earol swim tea tree oil spray.
Apply pre swim. Preventative. Natural spray.
- Swim Ear
Apply post swim to dry up water.
- Swim seal
Apply pre swim. Preventative. No alcohol.
I’m glad you talked about making sure the ear plugs are a good fit for you so they won’t fall out and get lost. My younger brother is looking to get some surfer ear plugs to protect his ears will he’s surfing. I think I will talk to him about finding a professional help him find the best ones for him. https://tlssoundlabs.com/products/surfing-earplugs