Best Swimming Ear Plugs
When the word “earplugs” gets mentioned, most people will either think of one of two things. They will typically either associate them with protection against loud noises or with protection against water, e.g. swimming ear plugs. As you can no doubt tell from the name of this guide, we want to focus on the latter. Now, with that said, you can still buy earplugs for swimming that will work sufficiently at blocking out ambient noise.
But, they also need to provide watertight seals or (if nothing else) limit the amount of water that enters inside your ears (as most of them will not stop all water from penetrating).
And, though they are not too complex to buy, there are some vital factors that you will need to assess along the way. Firstly, though, let’s take a look at some of the best models currently available on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10.75 hrs of research
They are made of silicone
Comes with a reusable case
The special shapes improve performance
- SPEEDO ERGO
- MACK’S AQUABLOCK
- SUREFIRE EP4
- TYR MOLDED
- EVERY CARES
- PUTTY BUDDIES
- DOCS PRO
- HONEYWELL MAX
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Best Swimming Ear Plugs
1. SPEEDO ERGO
They are made of silicone
Comes with a reusable case
The special shapes improve performance
The material is not supremely comfortable
If you anything about swimming gear then you should be familiar with the brand name of Speedo. It just so happens that one of the best models available is from this same very brand.Read more
As with most of the models on this list, these here are made out of silicone. This is pretty much a standard for this type of technology so it is not much of a surprise.
Due to the fact that the material is not as soft as others, these can be a bit uncomfortable to wear for longer sessions. With that said, they do sport ergonomic designs.
The specialized design of each of these plugs goes a long way to enhance their performance. Ironically, they provide such a great seal that they can be hard to get out of your ears.
If you are looking to buy a ton of plugs at once, this is probably not the option for you as you only get the two pieces (one for each ear). Still, the value is good due to the quality and price.
Even though you can’t attach a cord to these, included with your purchase is a case that can be reused time and time again.
Seriously, would you expect anything less from Speedo? About the only thing that would have made these even better is if they were a little bit more comfortable.
2. MACK’S AQUABLOCK
A carrying case is included
They are doctor recommended
They can be washed and reused
They have the tendency to push out of your ears over time
Feast your eyes on one of the most popular options currently available on the market. As you will soon see, there is a reason literally hundreds of former buyers have raved about these suckers.Read more
As opposed to models that are made out of cheap plastic, these feature pre-molded silicone constructions. Thanks to this, they will last longer than others.
These sport Mack’s triple flange design which enhances the comfort of them (while also improving the fit). With that said, they like to come out of your ears so you will need to push them back in from time to time.
Not only do these provide solid sealing to prevent a lot of water from entering inside your ears but they also block out a lot of noise (so that is a plus).
With your purchase, you actually get two pairs of these. Taking into consideration the quality of each of them and the overall price, the value here is great.
For the record, a carrying case is included with your purchase but a cord to connect the pieces is not (as they are not designed to do so).
Can you see why this option is so revered? The value is off the charts, they work extremely well and they are optimized for comfort.
3. SUREFIRE EP4
Specially designed to lock in place
They have a low-profile appearance
Made with premium quality
After a few hours, they can become uncomfortable
This is a great example of an option that is actually optimized for noise reduction but one that will work for your swimming needs, also. You do only get the one pair with your purchase, though.Read more
For only one pair at this price, these better be made well. It is safe to say with their durable hypoallergenic polymer constructions that, indeed, they are.
The adjustable and soft stems (that are triple-flanged) do enhance the overall comfort. However, in spite of this, some users have noted that these can become uncomfortable after a few hours.
Yes, the EP4 Sonic Defenders are ideal for blocking out noise as they come with a 24-decibel noise reduction rating. But, they can also work great for swimming purposes, as well.
Some of you may not want to pay this kind of price for one pair of earplugs. Yet, due to the quality alone, the value is still not as bad as you may think it is.
As you can see from the photos, a cable does connect both these plugs together. But, it can be detached if you would rather not use it.
You could make an argument that this is the best design on this list and very few people would disagree with you. The EP4 Sonic Defenders are really that impressive.
4. TYR MOLDED
One size is designed to fit all
Great value for the price
They are very comfortable to wear
They will not block out much noise
They can be tricky to get on
TYR is another top-name brand when it comes to swimming gear. But, their earplugs are a little different than other options as they are molded. So, they may fit differently than you may expect them to.Read more
These are made up of silicone and overall, the craftsmanship is about what you would expect because of it.
One size is designed to fit all and these are comfortable to wear overall. Yet, at the same time, they do take some time to get accustomed to.
Due to the hollow stems, these are actually engineered to minimize the amount of hearing disruption that persists. They are also tricky to get on right, for the record.
You do only get one pair of earplugs with your purchase but the value is still good regardless. Plus, you could always just buy more than one of these.
To ensure you do not misplace these and to also ensure that they remain protected when you travel with, a storage case is included with your purchase.
There have been previous buyers to question the performance of this option and that can’t be ignored. Still, there are many more positive reviews than not, so that is a plus.
5. EVERY CARES
They are pretty easy to remove from your ears
Designed with medical-grade silicone
Comes with six pairs and six storage cases
Not as flexible as others
Some users have questioned their performance
Each individual pair you are provided with here (there are six in total) each comes with their own separate storage case which is pretty convenient. Plus, each one is made with medical-grade silicone.Read more
As with so many other options on the market, these are made with medical-grade silicone. You just really can’t go wrong with that type of material.
What is nice is each plug has been designed with an ergonomic fit. Yet, this does not change the fact that each one of them is not as forgiving (harder and less flexible) as other designs.
Though there have been some naysayers out there who have questioned the waterproofness of these plugs, they are optimized with tree shapes to minimize as much leaking as possible.
For the price (which is pretty low), you actually get six individual pairs of plugs (each with their own storage case). To say this is a great value is a bit of an understatement.
As just mentioned, each individual pair comes with its own storage case, which is incredibly convenient. But, no leashes are equipped, for the record.
While far from perfect, you get a most effective product with an incredible value here. For most of you, that will be enough to break open your wallets.
6. PUTTY BUDDIES
Available in stylish colors
They can be paired with a headband
Designed with superior stability
Not the most premium option out there
Do not let their appearance fool you; these plugs are great for both kids and adults alike. They are also designed of unique tacky texture which allows them to remain more stable than other options.Read more
Soft silicone is the material of choice here but this option is also not exactly top-notch or premium. But, the earplugs are far from cheaply-made so do keep that in mind.
The tacky texture of the Putty Buddies takes some getting used to. When you do get accustomed to it, you will become to appreciate its tackiness and overall comfort.
It is claimed that these are recommended by doctors worldwide (though it is hard to judge the accuracy of these claims). Still, the Putty Buddies do what they are supposed to do.
Sanitation issues can persist after you use these which can affect their performance. What is nice, though, is that three pairs are included with your purchase.
As with most sellers on the market, Putty Buddies provides you with a carrying case to transport these in. That way, the chances of you losing them are minimized.
When so many people have positive remarks about a particular product or thing, it becomes difficult to ignore it. Well, that pretty much sums up this option perfectly.
7. DOCS PRO
Different sizes are available
They are recommended by ENT physicians
Made with premium materials
The value is not the best
Some users have had sizing issues
As opposed to other plugs on the market, these are actually offered in different sizes. Make sure you get the right size; also, as this will dictate the quality of the seal you are provided with.Read more
Now, these are a bit different as they are made from Kraton. For the record, this material is actually the trade name for a group of elastomers (that are very high in their performance).
The key to achieving optimal comfort with these is to buy the right size. As obvious as that sounds, it is crucial because there are multiple sizes that you can choose from.
One of the reasons this option is on this list is because it has been recognized by patients and professionals around the world for its adequate level of water protection.
The quality is great here but some buyers have felt that these earplugs were not worth the rather steep price (considering you only get the one pair and nothing else).
It is specifically noted in the description that a leash will not be provided with your purchase.
Even though this option does not deliver the best value out there, it is hard to deny that these plugs are not at least somewhat compelling. After all, they are comfortable and effective at what they do.
Comes in multiple colors
Designed with ultra-soft silicone
Five pairs come with your purchase
Not perfect in their performance
Cheap and effective would be the best way to describe this option here. They are not astounding in their performance but they do get the job done.Read more
It is advertised that these are made of super soft silicone and that is not exaggerated in the slightest. Ironically, however, they may be a bit too soft.
Though soft in nature, it seems you have to push these suckers far into your ear canals (which can cause some discomfort). Oh, and for the sizing, these are offered in one size.
Once you get these positioned correctly, they do a solid job of blocking out water. Yet, at the same time, a few users have documented that these have a tendency of falling out of your ears.
All things considered, not too many of you will complain about the value. For the cheap price, you receive five separate pairs of earplugs.
In spite of the fact that cords are not equipped, included with your purchase is actually a fridge magnet (which is a nice little bonus item).
Some of you may end up adoring these earplugs for their ultra-soft makeups. Though this can complicate things in a way, it is one of the primary reasons several users have enjoyed them.
Different sizes are provided to you
Optimized for water activities
Appears to come with a storage case
They will not block much noise
There is little feedback to go off of
There are some options out there that are ultra-popular and then there are those like this one; those that are fairly rare and unknown. While you take a chance, these are well-designed.Read more
Being manufactured from soft and safe silicone, you can take comfort in knowing that these were not made with cheap materials.
Provided to you are small, medium and large sizes. Quite frankly, this could be seen as a blessing and a curse. Either way, each pair is outfitted with fixation wings for enhanced stability and comfort.
Now, these were designed for all types of water-based activities. However, they also purposely block out little to no noise. But, if you also want the benefits of noise reduction, this will disappoint you.
This is an excellent bang for your buck as you receive multiple pairs (two of each size) of these plugs at a relatively low price. However, the lack of user feedback does make this a riskier purchase.
From the photos, it appears that a storage case comes with your purchase. Yet, the seller should have clarified a bit better.
Sometimes, you just have to take a chance. Who knows, this could be the best purchase you ever make. While this may be a bit over the top, it is exciting in a way.
10. HONEYWELL MAX
Comes with 100 pairs
They work great for multiple uses
Each one comes with a cord
It can be finicky to get them to fit in your ears right
What if we told you that this option was offered with 100 pairs of earplugs? Would you believe it? Well, start believing as we are not bluffing.Read more
These are actually made out of closed-cell foam, making them different right from the get-go. A lot of you will prefer silicone, admittedly, and that is understandable.
Even though these can be a little tricky to get inserted correctly, their polyurethane foam constructions make for comfortable wear overall.
In addition to somewhat working in underwater situations, these are also designed to block noise. As a combination option, this is solid.
Does the value get any better than this? As mentioned, you receive 100 earplugs with your purchase. No, that was not a typo and you did read that sentence correctly.
Each of the plugs is corded, for the record. As for the packaging, each individual pair comes in a plastic bag and all of these come packaged in a box.
Whether you want foam or silicone models will make or break this option, quite frankly. The value is through the roof but if you do not want foam, there is really no reason to go with this option.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
First and foremost, you need to assess the materials. Most will be made out of silicone, though.
If you took the time to look through every one of the products on this list then you probably noticed a theme. That “theme” is that most earplugs for swimming are made of silicone (at least the good ones).
Now, that does not mean that each and every suitable option will be made of this material, though. After all, you may also see options with unique materials and others made of foam. Uh oh, we said foam, didn’t we? Let’s just get this out of the way; foam earplugs are not ideal for blocking water. However, the foam does do a terrific job of blocking ambient sounds. So, if you merely wanted minimal protection from the water but also wanted the benefits of noise reduction, you could actually go with foam models.
Yet, for most people, silicone is going to be the way to go. This material resembles rubber quite a bit and you may mistake it for rubber. It is a bit different and it works very well for this type of product. Some models may even be made with medical-grade silicone and all this means is the silicone has been tested to be used for medical applications.
Even though these may not ever be ultra comfortable to wear, they should at least be tolerable.
So, this one is easy, right? To determine the comfort level of earplugs you merely assess what material they are made from. Well, that has something to do with it but is only scratching the surface. After all, when it comes to silicone, it can either be quite hard or really soft.
So, do not assume that two silicone earplugs will feel the same (because they probably will not). After all, harder models are a bit more durable but also tend to be a little more uncomfortable. Meanwhile, your ears may appreciate softer silicone for its enhanced comfort. But, as was mentioned, this is not even half of it.
You also need to assess the fit and the style of each individual model.
You see, plugs can be designed in a plethora of ways. They can be moldable (which are applied to your outer ear canal for a custom fit), flanged (which can be a less expensive choice) and also ergonomic (which could be the best as they are specifically tailored to each of your ears). Of course, some models will be one-size-fits-all while others will come in multiple sizes. And, this is important as the plugs you buy need to fit snugly in your ears.
If you have come here today looking for protection against the water, you probably want models that can do so, right?
This section actually comes down to a lot of the information that was already documented. But, this same information needs to be twisted, in a way, to get the point across here. The reality of the situation is this; you need to buy earplugs for swimming based on the amount of water protection you desire from them. Not all of you will particularly care if the option you go with literally keeps all water from entering inside your ear canals. Meanwhile, some of you will almost mandate it (though it is nearly impossible for any set of earplugs to offer 100 percent waterproofness).
Either way, you need to assess both the materials and the style of each design. Both of these were discussed earlier and, to reiterate, silicone is leaps and bounds better than foam when it comes to water protection. But, the different methods of construction can also affect the performance of any one model. For example, moldable models do a superb job of creating waterproof seals while flanged options may not do quite as good of a job (though they do use multiple flanges to block the water).
The value is very important and, yes, this is much more than just the price.
It is easy, just go with the option that is the cheapest, right? Well, you probably know you are not getting away from this section with it being that easy. When you assess the value of any product, there is much more to it than just the price tag of it. Even though that can play a role, there are two other critical aspects that you need to take into consideration. The first is the quality of the product and the second is the quantity (in addition to the price). Consider this the so-called algorithm behind the value of a product.
Now, to tie this into buying earplugs for swimming, there will be many options on the market that offer you only one pair. Meanwhile, other sellers will provide a bundle of earplugs with your purchase. But, the latter is not necessarily superior. Think about it this way; would you rather buy one pair that is going to last you six months or three pair that will each last a few weeks? The math is pretty simple here, folks. And, after that, you can then add in the price to the fold. Of course, this type of product is not expensive, anyway.
There are just a few accessories that you may want to keep your eye out for.
No, earplugs are not typically packed with extra accessories to look out for. With that being said, there are two that you may want to prioritize (though neither one of them is mandatory by any stretch of the imagination). The first of which is a storage case. Most sellers will package their plugs in a storage case. However, it is typically not anything major and you could probably account for it yourself if you desired. Either way, this can be useful in offering protection in a few different ways. Firstly, in a storage container, the plugs will be less susceptible to accidental damage. Secondly, they are less prone to getting lost (though you could still misplace the case).
The other accessory is a cable. And, this is even less mandatory than the previous accessory and can be seen strictly as personal preference. After all, with an attached cable (with the cable itself behind your neck), you will not lose the plugs if they fall out of your ears. Unless you are in a pool where you could easily find them if they fall out, this may be important to you. Then again, on the flip side, the cable itself could end up restricting your movement and becoming more of a nuisance than anything. Again, it really all comes down to your preferences.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When it comes down to it, this is the first aspect most of you will pay attention to. You could make an argument that there are not too many features that distinguish earplugs from one another. But, the utilized materials are certainly one of them. And, nine times out of ten, you will see models made out of silicone. This is probably the most popular material for this type of product.
For the most part, it is not going to be too comfortable to stick anything into your ears. Pretty much everyone can agree on that. At the same time, that does not insinuate that the plugs you go with should provide unbearable discomfort (as that is not ideal, either). Instead, look for those that you will (at the very least) be able to tolerate. Oh, and make sure they fit you correctly.
A lot of you have come here today looking for earplugs for swimming that will offer superb water protection, right? If so, then this is going to be the most important section for you to assess. And, ironically, a lot of what was talked about previously plays a role here. After all, a lot of what makes a particular model effective is how it is designed and what materials it is designed with.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are other ways to prevent swimmer’s ear?
Swimmer’s ear is one of the issues that can persist if your ears have been exposed to too much water intake. Outside of wearing plugs, though, what are some other ways to prevent it?
For starters, you could always go with specialized ear drops. If you are concerned you have serious issues with your eardrums, though, you may want to avoid this solution. Of course, ensuring you maintain your ear wax and take good care of your skin inside your ear canals are also good practices.
q: Is it safe to wear them while swimming?
Given the fact that these are designed to provide you protection from water penetrating inside your ears, they are certainly safe to wear. However, you also need to understand something that is vitally important.
You can only reach depths of water so great before even the best models on the market cease to perform. It is kind of like waterproof devices. There is always a limit to their waterproofness and once the water pressure reaches a certain level, waterproof devices can still be damaged by water.
q: If you get swimmer’s ear, how can you dry it?
Alright, so what happens in the unfortunate situation where you do suffer from swimmer’s ear? Well, your first line of defense, so to speak, should be to attempt to dry your ear. And, there are a few manners in which you can do so.
Firstly, try sticking a cloth or a soft towel into your ear to get as much water out as you can. Along the same line, you can also tip your head to allow the water to drain out. Or, if you have a blow dryer, you could always set it to the lowest heat setting to attempt to dry out some of the water.
q: Can you reuse silicone plugs?
Not all models on the market will be reusable so you need to be aware of that. But, what about those made out of silicone, are they reusable? It does depend on the model at hand but, for the most part, they should be reusable. Depending on their durability and quality, some silicone models will also last longer than others.
q: Can these cause hearing loss if worn too long?
This is a question that gets asked quite frequently but in regard to earplugs for swimming, this is not going to be too much of an issue. Where this question really originated is with sleeping plugs. In this case, you will be wearing your plugs for several hours at a time.
And, former studies have shown that earwax can build up if you leave them in your ears for too long. Thus, this could actually lead itself to a hearing loss. Again, though, with those models designed for swimming, this is virtually a non-issue.
q: What about cleaning them?
Depending on how frequently you clean your own ears, the earplugs you wear may be more prone to dirt and wax buildup. As gross as it is, you will need to clean them when this problem persists (granted they are designed to be used more than once). To do so, simply fill a large enough bowl with dish soap and lukewarm water.
From there, allow your plugs to soak in the solution for a couple of minutes. Then, with a cleaning brush, attempt to remove as much wax and dirt as you can from them. Again, the more you clean your own ears, the less of an issue this will be.