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What are Swimming Ear Plugs?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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Swimming ear plugs are ear plugs which are designed to keep water out of the ear, allowing people to swim or participate in other aquatic sports without getting water in their ears. Ear plugs are highly recommended for swimming, especially in the case of people who swim frequently, because swimmers are at risk of developing infections in their ears as a result of frequent irritation with water. Infections which arise as a result of swimming are known, fittingly, as “swimmer's ear,” and they can be painful and annoying. Additionally, repeat infections can contribute to hearing loss, which is very undesirable.

A number of materials can be used for swimming ear plugs, including silicone, rubber, and foam. Some swimmers like to use wax ear plugs, but this is not recommended, because wax is very heat sensitive, and it can melt in the ear. All swimming ear plugs are designed to fit snugly into the ear canal, creating a seal so that water cannot get past the ear plug. When purchasing ear plugs for swimming, it is important to confirm that they are labeled specifically for swimming use.

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Ear plugs are generally reusable, but some precautions should be observed when re-using ear plugs. Reusable ear plugs should never be shared with other people, and they should be swabbed with alcohol or another cleaning fluid after use. After two weeks of use, they should be discarded. Many swimming supply companies sell large containers of swimming ear plugs at affordable costs, so there is no reason to reuse old ear plugs.

Some caution should also be observed when inserting and removing ear plugs. Most ear plugs are inserted by rolling the ear plug in the fingers so that it flattens and narrows, and then carefully inserting it into the ear and holding it there for a moment while it puffs back up, filling the ear canal. When ear plugs are removed, they should not be yanked out of the ear, as this can cause hearing damage. Instead, one side should gently be pulled down to allow air to enter the ear, breaking the seal and allowing the ear plug to fall out.

If a swimmer's ears are infected or irritated, it is a good idea to stay out of the water, even with ear plugs, because the water could exacerbate the infection. Wearing swimming ear plugs for every visit to the water will greatly reduce the risk of infection, especially if the ear plugs are cleaned and replaced regularly, which means that less swimming time will be lost as the result of ear infections.

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sunshine31
Post 2

Bhutan- I do the same things with my kids. I found that the best swimming ear plugs are found at CVS drug stores.

I have tried the kind of ear plugs for kids that are standard, but I think that are the standard lightweight material that is already formed, does not work for my kids.

I have better luck with the moldable swimming ear plugs for kids. They usually stay put and my kids never get water in their ears. I usually buy swimmers ear plugs that are moldable.

Bhutan
Post 1

Great article- My daughter used to suffer from swimmer’s ear and every time she was would swim she would get an ear infection.

I have since started using moldable ear plugs that are made of silicone. This way she gets to enjoy her swimming and I don’t have to worry about her ears.

These ear plugs are found in most drug stores and are fairly inexpensive. They usually come in a plastic case which allows you to put them away after use. I usually buy several packs at a time.

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