Swim plugs are earplugs designed to keep your ear canals dry and protect your ears from infection. Whether you’re a competitive swimmer or you just like to splash around in the pool on a hot summer day, bacteria in the water can enter your ear canal and cause a painful outer ear infection known as swimmer’s ear.
If left untreated, swimmer’s ear causes itchy, red and swollen ears as well as pain. It can also lead to temporary hearing loss. Although children are most susceptible, this infection can affect people of all ages. The best way to avoid swimmer’s ear is to keep your ear canals dry with swim plugs.
Who can benefit?
Swim plugs should be worn every time you go swimming to ensure your ears are protected from bacteria in the water. They’re also beneficial for people who spend a lot of time in and around water. This includes divers, surfers and paddlers.
Additionally, it’s important to keep water out of your ears at all times if you have ear tubes, drainage issues or have had ear surgery. Swim plugs can be used to keep your ears dry in the shower and bathtub, as well as in the pool and at the beach.
What options are available?
All swim plugs help protect your ears from water and potential infection. However, there are a few different types on the market that offer varying degrees of protection. These options include:
- Standard swim plugs. Usually made of silicone or latex, these plugs are conical and can have multiple flanges that create a barrier in your ear. However, since they come in standard sizes, these swim plugs might not fit properly or provide a watertight seal.
- Mouldable swim plugs. Made of wax or soft silicone putty, these plugs can be shaped to fit the contours of your ear. However, their soft material makes them difficult to clean and, therefore, less hygienic than other options.
- Custom swim molds. Made to conform to your ear’s exact shape and size, these plugs provide an optimal fit. They can also be easily cleaned and sanitized after every use. Although they’re a more expensive option, they float and are available in bright colours, so you don’t have to worry about losing them.
What are the advantages?
In addition to their primary purpose of keeping your ears safe and dry, swim plugs offer other advantages. Many triathletes claim that wearing ear plugs helps prevent dizziness, which is a common occurrence when swimming long distances, especially in cold water.
Swim plugs can also be used to block out ambient noise, which can be overwhelming or distracting when you swim laps, particularly at an indoor pool. Swim plugs can help you concentrate on your workout and make swimming a more relaxing experience.
Where can you learn more?
Soundwave Hearing Care offers custom swim molds in addition to our hearing care services. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today or visit one of our clinics in Calgary, Grande Prairie, High River or Lethbridge.