Best swimming ear plugs to keep water out

Avoid water in the ear with simple and comfortable protection.

Horizontal view of caucasian woman using sportive earplugs next to a swimming pool.

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

If you are a keen swimmer, investing in a pair of swimming ear plugs can help protect against infection. Moreover, if you're frequenting public and outdoor swimming pools, it's important to wear protective gear for your health and hygiene. That muffled feeling of water in the ear can be insufferable. But, it's so easy to prevent it with a pair of inexpensive ear plugs.

Waterproof ear plugs tend to be made of foam, wax or silicone. Some versions are a basic mouldable putty that you press into your ear for a custom fit. With this type of ear plug it is very important not to insert it too far into the ear canal. Alternatively, choose ergonomically designed hard plastic and silicone ear plugs. These fit over the ear canal and form a waterproof seal. Some of these ear plugs allow ambient sound in whilst keeping water out. As such, these purpose-designed ear plugs are a safer and better option, especially for open water swimming.

Best swimming ear plugs at a glance:

Best overall swimming ear plugs: Zoggs Aqua Plugz – Buy now on Amazon UK
Best swimming ear plugs for all ages: WaterDam Swimming Ear Plugs – Buy now on Amazon UK
Best swimming ear plugs for letting sound in: Hearprotek Swimmer Ear Plugs – Buy now on Amazon UK

Swimming ear plugs can be generally used for keeping water out when in the shower. Additionally, some types can be used as ear plugs for sleeping. Just be sure to check that they are noise reducing by looking at the product specification. Also, bear in mind that prolonged use can push wax deep into the ear canal, causing painful build-up.

If you're suffering with an ear infection, you must wait until the inflammation goes before going back in the water. Along with your swimming fitness tracker and swimming cap, make a pair of ear plugs for swimming an essential part of your bathing kit. Whether you are wild swimming or in a public pool, it is more beneficial to swim with ear plugs than without.

Be aware these products are for surface water sports only and not suitable for diving.

Best swimming ear plugs

Best overall swimming ear plugs

Zoggs Aqua PlugzAmazon/Zoggs

Rrp: $15.88

Price: $12.45

Zoggs Aqua Plugz are reusable and made of hypoallergenic silicone. The ear plugs are ergonomically designed to fit the outer ear, protecting the ear canal. They create a watertight seal and for extra security these ear plugs can be held in place with a matching ear band or a swimming cap. A convenient carry case is provided. Replacement clear ear plugs are also available.

Customer review: "I put them in and forget about them. I no longer get water in my ears and can hear people talking to me poolside, which is brilliant."

Pros

  • Amazon's Choice
  • Best seller
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Child's size is out of stock

Best swimming ear plugs for all ages

WaterDam Swimming Ear PlugsAmazon/WaterDam
Price: $13.99

WaterDam understands that ear canals are unique and vary in size. As such, WaterDam Swimming Ear Plugs are available in a range of sizes. Plus, there are specialist sizes for growing children. The soft silicone ear plugs have a two layer "compacting" design that creates a waterproof seal. Also, each ear plug is specifically designed be a left or right ear fit. If you've experienced ear plugs that hurt, this innovative design may be a better option for you as they don't penetrate the inner ear.

Customer review: "Very good it is easy to use I particularly like the box that has left and right plugs."

Pros

  • Large range of sizes and colours available
  • New and improved design suitable for narrow ear canals
  • Still be able to hear ambient sound
  • High temperature resistance

Cons

  • Sizing chart is a little difficult to follow

Best swimming ear plugs for letting sound in

Hearprotek Swimmer Ear PlugsAmazon/Hearprotek
Price: £14.99

Hear what's going on around you without letting water in, with Hearprotek Swimmer Ear Plugs. These ergonomic and secure fit ear plugs have a double flange design and acoustic core, so they can help to prevent common problems, such as swimmer's ear, without reducing your enjoyment of swimming classes or social swimming. Also, they can be washed and reused. Plus, they come with their own carry case.

Customer review: "They work brilliantly for me, swimming in a pool they block the water from my ears and dull down the echoing in the pool whilst allowing me to hear people talking to me. Great product."

Pros

  • Range of colours available
  • Secure fit
  • Lets sound in
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Unsuitable for depths of more than 5ft

Best swimming ear plugs for durability

Speedo Biofuse Aquatic EarplugJohn Lewis/Speedo

Speedo Biofuse Aquatic Earplugs are a durable option because it's made from a denser material than most general use ear plugs. The triple-flange construction fits snuggly into the ear, providing waterproof protection. If you're serious about swimming, they're a robust and reusable option.

Customer review: "I find them very effective at keeping water out of my ears when swimming and comfortable to wear. My last pair lasted five years."

Pros

  • Effective at keeping water out
  • Durable
  • Reusable

Cons

  • A bit hard

Best swimming ear plugs for keeping water out

Putty Buddies Original Swimming EarplugsAmazon/Putty Buddies
Price: $6.99

Putty Buddies Original Swimming Earplugs are bright super-soft silicone that's malleable and can be shaped to fit any ear shape. The pack of three comes with a carry case, and each ear plug can be used up to five times over a two week period. Putty Buddies was developed by a physician as general water protection when swimming or showering. These ear plugs slightly reduce external sound, which is beneficial to those who want focus when swimming. It's recommended to wear these ear plugs in conjunction with the Ear-Band-It Swimming Headband.

Customer review: "Excellent at keeping water out, silicone is easy to mould into ears, in our house we use them every time we bathe or shower, we get many uses out of a single pair."

Pros

  • Amazon's Choice
  • Recommended by physicians
  • Reusable up to five times

Cons

  • Do not push this product too far into the ear canal

Best ear plugs for intensive swimming

Eargrace Ear Plugs for SwimmingAmazon/Eargrace
Price: £9.99

Eargrace Ear Plugs for Swimming come with a handy cord so the ear plugs can be attached to goggles. Also, these ear plugs float in water so they're easier to find if they fall out. Soft and comfortable, they feature a three-flange "Christmas tree" shaped design to keep water out. Also, these ear plugs are slightly noise reducing. A storage case is included and they are available in different colours.

Customer review: "Works great in the swimming pool to keep water out of my ears. Good comfy fit in ears and do not fall out."

Pros

  • Amazon's Choice
  • Cord included so ear plugs can be secured to goggles
  • Three-flange design for secure fit
  • Easy to remove

Cons

  • Customers comment that their ears were too small for these ear plugs

Best eco-friendly swimming ear plugs

Alpine SwimSafe Adult Ear PlugsAmazon/Alpine
Price: $11.95

Alpine SwimSafe Adult Ear Plugs have special water filters to ensure ambient sounds and conversation can be heard, whilst keeping water out. The unique AlpineThermoShape material is ultra-soft and comfortable. Also, it's an alternative option to foam, wax and conventional silicone ear plugs. They come with a lightweight storage case and are easy to clean with lukewarm water. Customers comment that they are small, therefore these ear plugs are best worn under a swimming cap.

Customer review: "I got these for my 11 year old daughter who is prone to ear infections when swimming. They stop the water and protect the inside of the ears."

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Reusable 100+ times
  • Moulds to fit your ear
  • Silicone free

Cons

  • A bit small and fiddly

Best branded swimming ear plugs

Speedo Unisex Swim Training Ergo Ear PlugsAmazon/Speedo
Price: $8.09

Speedo Unisex Swim Training Ergo Ear Plugs are a good option for small and sensitive ears. They're specially moulded to minimise water and also block out some sound. It's a good choice for children's swimming lessons and they'll love the multi-coloured ear buds and brand association. However, they may not withstand more rigorous activity, such as outdoor swimming or surfing.

Multi-coloured replacement ear buds are also available from Amazon UK.

Customer review: "I'm amazed by them. They fit nicely in my ears, not too tight and no fiddling to get them in, yet they stop water getting in. Don't know how they work, but they do. Brilliant!"

Pros

  • Special shape to minimal water leakage
  • Lightweight
  • Soft and comfortable
  • PVC free

Cons

  • Some customers comment that they kept falling out

Best swimming ear plugs for hygiene

BioEars Soft Silicone Earplugs with Activ AloeBoots/BioEars

Aloe aloe – is it protection from water and noise you're looking for? These BioEars Soft Silicone Earplugs with Activ Aloe have antimicrobial protection, making them a hygienic option for reusable ear plugs. They can reduce noise to just 22dB and provide a waterproof seal for any ear size.

Customer review: "This is my third time to purchase these earplugs. I use them for swimming and in my opinion they’re the best."

Pros

  • Roll and shape to fit any ear size
  • Hygienic material
  • Reusable

Cons

  • Sticky and some customers found they got caught in their hair

Best malleable swimming ear plugs

Nabaiji Malleable Swimming Ear PlugsDecathlon/Nabaiji

Nabaiji Malleable Swimming Ear Plugs are hypoallergenic and completely waterproof. Knead the ear plug to make it malleable and follow the instructions provided to correctly position it in the ear. With malleable ear plugs it's important not to insert them too deeply into the ear canal. When not in use, store in the case provided.

Customer review: "Easy fit and protects ears, better compare to plastic once as they are softer."

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Fits any ear size
  • Colourful and visible

Cons

  • For best results, wear with a swimming head band or swimming cap

FAQs

What is swimmer's ear?

The NHS defines otitis externa or swimmer's ear as an outer ear infection. It's the inflammation of the ear canal and regularly getting water in your ears can exacerbate the problem. As well as water causing irritation, the condition can also be caused by fungal infections and allergies. The NHS states that it's a common condition: "It’s estimated that around 1 in 10 people will be affected by it at some point in their lives.

"The condition is slightly more common in women than men and is most often diagnosed in adults 45 to 75 years of age."

It's important to keep water out of your ears to allow any inflammation to clear up. Wear ear plugs or a swimming cap when showering, bathing and swimming.

How do I get water out of my ear?

We've all heard of the olive oil technique for unblocking ears, but before trying that, there are a few simple things which might just do the trick.

To remove water from your ear, try shaking your head from side-to-side as this can encourage trapped fluid to release.

Otherwise, tilt your head to the side and gently pull your ear lobe in different directions, as this straightens the ear canal.

Use gravity by laying on your side, allowing water to trickle out.

If the water still hasn't released, there are some further techniques and ear drop products which are referred to in Boots' guide on how to get water out of your ears.

How do I use olive oil to release trapped water in my ear?

Because olive oil is a thick, vicious fluid it can break up ear wax and dislodge water that's trapped in the ear canal. You only need a few drops of warm olive oil. Get someone to pipette the warm olive oil directly into your ear, while you are laying on your side. Allow the oil to work its way into the inner ear. Stay in this position for 10 minutes. Then, gently sit up and tilt your head to the side, allowing any liquid to freely drip out.

Can waterproof headphones be effective swimming ear plugs?

Yes, some types of earbuds have a spiral design that is an effective waterproof seal. Look for waterproof headphones that have this design feature and you'll benefit from water protection, as well as all of your favourite tunes when swimming.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances. When she's not testing sparkling water makers, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us