If you spend lots of time in the water, you know how important it is to protect your eardrums from the damage associated with earaches and swimmer's ear. The best earplugs for swimming can be an amazing first line of defense when it comes to avoiding trapped moisture. With that said, there are a few things you should take a look at when shopping for a new pair of in-ear protectors: the material, how well they mold to your ears, and whether or not they offer noise reduction.
First, know that it’s extremely important to purchase only earplugs specifically designed for swimming.
Earplugs made for sleeping, sporting events, industrial work, or hunting are solely manufactured to block out noises. As a result, they will not provide any protection from swimmer's ear and other water-related issues.
Since you’ll be wearing them in your ear canal, you should be aware that some materials may feel more comfortable than others. The majority of waterproof earplugs are made from silicone, putty, plastic, or any combination of the three. Models made of moldable silicone and putty are flexible enough to fit snugly into most ear canals, while traditional
silicone and plastic earplugs tend to come pre-molded, allowing you to wash and reuse them after each use. (On this list you’ll also find a swimming mask with ear covers, in case you’d like to try an option that keeps water out but doesn’t block the ear canal.)
Another matter is the option of noise reduction. The amount of noise reduction earplugs offer is measured by a
Noise Reduction Rating. The higher the rating, the less you should hear. Not all manufacturers offer a Noise Reduction Rating, but you might want to opt for one that does if you’re specifically looking to block out sound. Alternatively, there are options that allow you to hear some sound while wearing your earplugs — just keep in mind that they may not always provide as much sealable protection as the options that allow little to no sound.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, this list has the information and suggestions you need to seal the deal.
1 The Best Swimming Earplugs, All Things Considered
The pre-molded flange design of
Mack’s AquaBlock earplugs allow a more customized fit for your ear canal, helping to prevent unwanted issues such as swimmer’s ear. The pack comes with two pairs of reusable, washable silicone earplugs and a carrying case to keep them organized for worry-free pool days. In terms of ratings, thousands of buyers have given them an overall 4.4 stars. One reviewer wrote: “My ears tend to get a lot of water stuck in them when I swim, so earplugs are a necessity for me. These work very well to keep the water out of my ears, are comfortable, and fit well under my swim cap. They're also easy to insert, remove, and clean. The case they come in is perfect to keep in my gym bag.” 2 The Best Value Earplugs
You get eighteen pairs of
AquaEars’ earplugs for $11, which is a great value considering that they can be reused. They’re made of a pliable silicone material, so they’re not only soft and moldable, but they can work for swimmers of all ages. The earplugs contain ActivAloe too, which is meant to guard against the growth of bacteria. As a bonus, they have a Noise Reduction Rating of 22 decibels. One reviewer wrote: “These work great. Each one I break in half and use for swimming. Really good value!” 3 The Best Swimming Earplugs For Kids
Specifically sized for smaller ear canals,
Mack’s waterproof earplugs are made of moldable silicone, which helps to seal out water and prevent swimmer's ear. Thanks to their bright orange color, they are super easy to find should they happen to come out while swimming — another reason why they're an amazing choice for children. In addition to their underwater capabilities, these plugs have a 22-decibel Noise Reduction Rating and can be used for other activities or events during which you'd prefer a reduction in sound. One reviewer wrote: "They actually work!!! My son can’t get his ears wet yet other products never work. These stayed in while he was in the pool and his ears never got water in them." 4 The Best Earplugs That Still Allow You To Hear
The hollow channel in
Hearprotek's silicone earplugs allows you to still hear sounds and conversation during your water activities. This contoured, pre-molded silicone set comes with marked left and right plugs that easily fit into your ears and seal tight to prevent irritation. It's an overall great deal and includes two reusable pairs, each with its own storage and carrying case. One reviewer wrote: “Perfect earplugs. I’ve tried so many over the years and finally found the ones I have been searching for. Once in, they don’t budge. They are comfy and really stay in place and keep the water from swishing in and out. I love the bright colors so if, in theory, I drop one in the water, I could find it. But I never take them out [because] they are so comfy, so I never drop them. Still, the bright colors are nice.” 5 The Best Swimming Earplugs For Athletic Use Speedo's Ergo earplugs are well-suited for those who partake in athletic diving or swimming, and are therefore the best solution for someone with an active water routine. Their contoured ergonomic shape offers a soft and comfortable, yet snug fit that prevents water from entering the ear canal. To keep things organized, the pair also comes with a compact carrying case. One reviewer wrote: “Definitely helps prevent water in ear which is annoying to release yanking on your ear lobe and tilting your head to the right [and] left. No more of that now.” 6 The Best Swimming Earplug & Goggle Combo
Swim around in complete comfort with
SwimStar’s goggle and earplug duo — they help to protect both your ears and eyes from unwanted chlorine and salt water. This product is made from soft flexible rubber silicone, and the earplugs are attached to the glasses so that you'll never have to worry about losing them while swimming. One reviewer wrote: “Good value. Stays on head. Attached earplugs work well so that if they fall out of your ear you don’t have to scramble in the water to find them.” 7 These Swimming Earplugs That Are Made To Reduce Noise Luiswell’s silicone earplugs have a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 decibels of noise — higher noise than the other picks on this list with an NRR rating. They’re made of a flexible silicone material and are fitted with a lanyard, which can help you keep better track of them, but you can also remove the lanyard and use the earplugs alone should you wish. The earplugs are reusable, and each pack comes with 12 pairs, plus a small carrying case. And since they are made to reduce noise, you might try using them for more than just swimming. Reviewers have popped them in to tune out unwanted sounds at work or to get peace and quiet for meditation. One reviewer wrote: “I really like them. I can still hear someone if they are close, but the loud noises are very well muffled. They fit securely. Easy to wash clean.” 8 A Pair Of Vented Earplugs For Deep-Water Swimming
Unlike most earplugs,
Doc’s vented earplugs are designed with a small vent that allows divers to equalize the air pressure inside the ear. The earplugs are made of Dynaflex, a soft hypoallergenic plastic, and despite the presence of the small vent, the earplugs keep water out up to 20 feet in depth while protecting against swimmer’s ear. It’s attached to a lanyard to wear around your neck, and is available in three sizes, ranging from small to extra-large. According to the manufacturer, it reduces noise up to 20 decibels. One reviewer wrote: “Used for a beach vacation, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.” 9 This Set Of Earplugs That Come With A Swimming Headband
Ear Band-It’s earplugs come with a headband that keeps your earplugs where they should be — in your ears. The set includes six pairs of Putty Buddies, made of a moldable putty material to conform to your unique ear shape, plus a neoprene headband, which secures over the ears with a velcro strip — both of which were invented by ear, nose, and throat physicians. Made for kids and adults alike, the headbands are available in small, medium, and large sizes, and two colors: pink and blue. One reviewer wrote: “Easy to put in [my] child's ears and keeps them dry during swim lessons. Love them.” 10 A Dive Mask With Ear Covers That Keep Water Out
IST ProEar’s dive mask functions differently from the other products on this list (in that they don’t plug your ear canal), it can serve the same function of keeping water out of your ears. The dive mask is fitted with “watertight cups”and has a special valve that allows for pressure equalization while you’re underwater. Although the cups rest over the ears, they don’t filter out noise — in fact, they’re made to amplify sound as you swim. The mask is designed with divers in mind, but shoppers have donned them for snorkeling and even as a tool for learning how to swim in a pool. One reviewer wrote: “These goggles saved my summer swimming vacation. Right before my vacation I got an ear infection with a perforated eardrum. My [doctor] said don’t get water in my ear. So I purchased these along with regular swimming ear plugs for added protection. Best purchase I could have made. Saved this little mermaid from being sad the whole vacation.”