8 Best Swimming Earplugs of 2021

If you’ve struggled to find the best swimming earplugs for you, then you’re not alone. With so many brands and styles available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The truth is that there are so many different types of earplugs that what works for one person may not work for another.

It’s easy to assume our ear canals are all the same. However, that’s simply not the case. Everyone is different, and one style that works for your swim partner may not work for you and vice versa.

The good news is that the wide selection of earplugs on the market means it’s virtually impossible not to find what’s best for you. There are many different kinds of earplugs, and we’re here to help you sort through them. Our goal is to help you find the perfect pair of earplugs for your lifestyle and budget.

We’ll start with eight swimming earplug reviews of the best earplugs we could find in this swimming earplugs article. Then, we’ll dive into types of earplugs, how to prevent swimmer’s ears, and other handy tips to aid your search for the perfect earplugs. By the end of this post, you should have everything you need to make an informed buying decision. Let’s get started!

The Best Earplugs for Swimming (Top Picks)

The following are eight of the best earplugs for swimming on the market. Although we’ve numbered them, this is not a ranking system, and the reviews presented here are in no particular order.

1. Mack’s Aquablock Earplugs

Mack’s Aquablock Earplugs are comfortable and convenient. They’re built from silicone for durability yet are soft enough you can hardly feel them in your ears. Plus, you can wash them, and they won’t deteriorate like some earplugs. 

One of the significant features that make Mack’s Aquablock Earplugs stand out is their design. They have a flex stem and three flanges to create a seal to keep water out of your ears. This design is flexible, effective, and comfortable. 

What’s more, they won’t break the bank and are reusable. Each box comes with two pairs of earplugs, which should last you a while since they’re reusable. They are super-soft and provide a comfortable experience while still being waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about getting swimmer’s ear.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Durable silicone construction
  • Pillow soft and comfortable to wear
  • Waterproof
  • Reusable

Cons

  • Some people with large ear canals report these earplugs fall out.
  • Physical activity can dislodge them.
  • Silicone is a bit flimsy. 

2. Putty Buddies Original Swimming Earplugs

Another brand of exceptionally comfortable earplugs is Putty Buddies Earplugs. They feature a pliable simple silicone design that molds to the inside of your ear. This design makes them versatile and, in this case, one size really does fit all.

The Putty Buddies Earplugs offer guaranteed protection for water. So, not only are they great for swimming, they’re essential to have around for all types of water sports, including water skiing, kayaking, and even while bathing when you need to protect your ears as they heal from injury.

Other features include their bright colors, so they’re easy to find in the pool, and their tacky texture makes them moldable and somewhat sticky, so they’ll stay in your ears even while being active. They’re also reusable, so they last longer than a lot of other earplugs on the market.

Pros

  • Comfortable in your ears
  • Excellent water resistance
  • Versatile enough for all types of water activities, including swimming
  • One-size-fits-all design
  • Tacky texture so you can mold them to your ear canal.

Cons

  • Hair can stick to them (especially if you have curly hair)
  • Moldable texture can push them out of your ears.
  • If they’re overworked, they may not return to their original shape.

3. Speedo Silicone Earplugs

Speedo is a company that produces a lot of quality products for swimmers, including these silicone earplugs. Speedo Silicone Earplugs are soft and pliable. They are designed to mold to your ear and keep the water out.

Overall, these earplugs are comfortable and easy to use. They come with a handy carrying case, which is nice, and are designed for large adult ears (so don’t buy them for your kids). That said, these earplugs are effective, can be used with a swim cap, and are reusable.

These earplugs are also white, appealing to those who dislike the bright colors of many earplugs. They’re professional grade, comfortable, and get the job done by keeping water out of your ears while swimming.

Pros

  • Keep water out of your ears.
  • Mold to the size of your ear canals
  • Made from lightweight silicone
  • Effectively blocks out sound.
  • Long-lasting if you take care of them properly

Cons

  • Waxy texture attracts hair and dirt.
  • Difficult to clean
  • On the larger side, so not the best choice for those with small ear canals.

4. JBL Hydro Seal Spearfishing Aqua Plugs

For those frustrated with traditional earplugs or who don’t like the feel of silicone molded to the inside of your ear, the JBL Hydro Seal Earplugs may be right for you. These earplugs have a dual BAFFLE design, so they lock onto your ear, creating a waterproof seal.

They are made from a soft polymer material that is hypoallergenic to help prevent ear infections. Plus, the hydro seals keep water out while still enabling you to hear sounds and conversation like normal.

On top of that, the JBL Hydro Seal Earplugs have a hocks noise breaker that allows users to pressure clear their ears. For this reason, these earplugs are a top choice for swimmers and divers.

Pros

  • Enable normal hearing while blocking water
  • Snug and comfortable fit
  • Made of hypoallergenic polymer material
  • Locks into the inner ear so they won’t fall out.
  • The pressure clearing feature prevents the temporary loss of equilibrium.

Cons

  • Somewhat difficult to put them on
  • Some find they don’t fit correctly.
  • May not keep water out of larger ear canals.

5. Hearprotek Silicone Swimming Earplugs

Hearprotek Silicone Swimming Earplugs offer a versatile and comfortable option. They are constructed from durable silicone, pre-molded to create a strong seal that keeps water out of your ear. Plus, their triple flange design fits the shape of different ears naturally while also preventing them from being pushed too far into your ear.

These earplugs are perfect for preventing ear irritations and infections caused by water trapping inside the ear. They’re soft, comfortable, and still allow sound to penetrate through a central hollow channel so that you can continue to hear conversations. 

What’s more, you can wash and reuse them. The silicone cleans and dries quickly, and you can then store it in a case until you’re ready to use them again. Plus, they come in three bright colors to make them easy to spot.

Pros

  • Washable and reusable
  • Designed with a central hollow channel so you can still hear conversations
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Triple flange ergonomic shape
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Ears may ring due to high frequencies of water splashing.
  • Don’t fit all ear types
  • Silicone flanges can warp, making it so you can only use them a couple of times before needing a replacement.

6. Start Smart Soft Silicone Moldable Earplugs

These earplugs from Start Smart are ideal for frequent and casual swimming. They’re constructed of high-quality silicone to create a watertight seal and prevent swimmer’s ear. In addition, their unique moldable design makes them an ideal choice for both adults and kids.

The Start Smart Soft Silicone Earplugs are comfortable to wear and fit securely in your ear. Once they’re in place, you can forget about them and concentrate on swimming. When done, they’re easy to clean and can be stored in their case for next time.

On top of the protective case that comes with them, these earplugs also have a 90-day money-back guarantee, which is rare for earplugs. So, whether you’re going to the pool, a beach, or a waterpark, you can count on them to keep water out of your ears and stay in place for as long as you need them.

Pros

  • Excellent waterproof design
  • Mold to the shape of your inner ear
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • One-size-fits-all ergonomic design
  • Soft and comfortable

Cons

  • Can become too soft in hot weather
  • Dirt and debris stick to them
  • Require careful use to ensure they aren’t pushed back too far in the ear canal

7. Every Cares Silicone Swimming Earplugs

The Every Cares Silicone Swimming Earplugs are designed for those with smaller ear canals. They are tough, durable, and reusable, with a three flange design to seal out water and keep your inner ears dry.

They’re easy to put in and take out, making them convenient for everyday use, including swimming pools, bathing, and showering. Those with sensitive ears or who have had problems with other earplugs should give these a try. They’re soft and comfortable, and the silicone they’re made out of is BPA-free, odor-free, and free from latex.

Every Cares Silicone Earplugs are also affordable, coming in packages of six pairs, each with its protective case. However, they’re made specifically for those with smaller earholes, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, they’re a great way to prevent ear pain and infection caused by water.

Pros

  • Made specifically for people with small ear canals
  • Comfortable and durable
  • An economic choice
  • Protect against swimmer’s ear
  • Built from medical-grade silicone

Cons

  • It may be too soft for some conditions.
  • Too long for some people with small ear canals
  • Thin and flimsy

8. Honbay Silicone Swimming Earplugs

Another option for protecting your ears while swimming is Honbay Silicone Swimming Earplugs. These earplugs are made from soft silicone wrapped around a non-toxic fabric. Honbay designed them to stop water from entering your ears while swimming and prevent tympanitis.

They come in six different colors and are reusable. What’s more, they’re quite affordable, and each pack comes with six pairs of earplugs. While they help block out sound and water, it’s still possible to hear other people and effectively carry on conversations.

These earplugs from Honbay are also versatile, so you can use them for more than just swimming. They’re also suitable for concerts, on the gun range, and at construction sites. They’re soft, comfortable, and cost-effective.

Pros

  • Come in six different colors (black, blue, orange, pink, yellow, and light green)
  • Versatile enough to be used to block water and sound
  • Constructed from non-toxic silicone
  • It keeps water from entering the eardrum. 
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • Hard to remove when wet
  • It can be too loose for some.
  • On the large size

(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Swimming Earplug with Tubes)

Best Swimming Earplugs Buyer’s Guide (Knowing What to Look for)

Earplugs come in many different shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. Finding the perfect pair for you is often challenging. The problem is that what may work for one person may not work for another. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some earplug basics.

Best Earplug Size

When it comes to earplugs, size matters. Often, when you look at the negative reviews for a particular earplug, you’ll see people complaining about the earplug either hurting their ear or falling out too quickly. The truth is, this does not necessarily mean that the product is a bad one, only that it’s not sized correctly for the people writing the negative reviews.

For that reason, it’s crucial to get a pair of earplugs for swimming that fit your ears. If you don’t, they may not be watertight and can potentially harm your ears. That said, there are a lot of earplugs on the market that claim to be one-size-fits-all. 

Manufacturers make these types from moldable silicone putty in many cases, but you may have to try out several pairs of earplugs before you find the right ones for you. Fortunately, most earplugs are relatively inexpensive. The trick is not to give up because you’re sure to find one ideal for your ear size and shape with so many available products. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that most earplugs are sized for men. So, if you’re looking at a choice between small, medium, and large, remember that men’s ears tend to be larger, and calculate your size accordingly.

Earplug Varieties

It’s good to remember that not all earplugs are created equal. There’s a wide range of styles and materials available, and they can vary significantly in effectiveness and cost. 

When looking for the best swimming earplugs, be aware that not all earplugs are designed for use in the water. Some are for noise canceling and meant to be worn at concerts or on the construction site but are useless in the water. Always make sure the earplugs you are considering are watertight. Our goal is to keep water out of our ear canals.

Types of Earplugs for Swimmers

There are several different types of earplugs for swimmers. Finding the one that works best for you will take research and may involve some trial and error. That said, the following types should help to give you an idea of what’s out there.

Foam

Foam earplugs are cheap and often come in bright colors, like orange. People use them for suppressing sound, but little else. People who work around loud machinery or power tools often wear these kinds of earplugs.

Nevertheless, they are not built to go in the water. If you don’t know a lot about earplugs and go to the store to get some for swimming, you may only see these kinds available. Don’t buy them. They won’t keep water out of your ears and likely pop out as soon as you get in the water. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive and readily available

Cons

  • Do NOT work for swimming.

Conical

Conical earplugs are made from plastic and look a little like trees, with graduated bands along the outer edges. The bands start narrow and become wider as they go down, forming a pointed, cone-like shape. They’re usually flexible and can be inserted into the ear as deeply as is comfortable.

When you push a conical style earplug into your ear, the accordion-like bands, also called flanges, fold into each other, creating a waterproof seal. In general, this style is very effective at keeping water out of the ear canal. 

What’s more, conical earplugs are not very expensive. However, they are often only sold in a single size, which varies by brand, so it can be frustrating to buy a pair and bring it home only to discover they don’t fit or hurt your ears too much.

Also, conical earplugs are long and tend to stick out. Not only does this look a little funny, but they can get in the way. For instance, they don’t work well with swim caps, unless you plan to pull the cap down over your ears. For that, you’ll need a pair of silicone putty earplugs.

Pros

  • Sold as one-size-fits-all
  • Easy to use and put in and take out
  • Inexpensive and easy to find
  • Washable and reusable

Cons

  • Tend to lose suction and fall out
  • Very noticeable and awkward looking

Silicone Putty

Silicone putty earplugs are made of a moldable material that you shape to fit into your ear. They can be removed and reshaped over and over to achieve the perfect fit, and many swimmers prefer this style of earplug because they are effective and comfortable.

This earplug style typically comes as colored balls of putty and is often the best choice for kids and intermediate to advanced swimmers. The fact that the silicone can be contoured to fit in anyone’s ear canal’s unique shape makes them generally more effective than conical earplugs. They form a waterproof barrier that keeps outside moisture from entering your ear canal, thereby preventing swimmer’s ear.

That said, a step up in performance also means a step up in price. Silicone putty earplugs are more expensive than other types. However, they’re durable and, when properly cared for, can be reused many times before you need to replace them.

Silicone earplugs, especially those made from medical-grade material, can be cleaned and stored in an airtight container when not in use. Nonetheless, their sticky texture tends to attract debris, such as dust, hair, and lint. When this happens, it’s incredibly challenging to clean them, so always keep a few replacements on hand.

Pros

  • Although sometimes more expensive than conical style earplugs, they’re still pretty cheap.
  • Custom molded to your ear.
  • Easy and convenient, even for kids

Cons

  • Tend to get dirty very easily and are difficult to clean
  • Some putty can become stuck after the earplug is removed, which can be dangerous.

Custom Earplugs

You can also get earplugs custom made by audiologists and other healthcare professionals. They are usually made from memory foam or polyurethane material. An audiologist takes a mold of your ear and then makes the earplugs to conform perfectly for you.

There are also take-home kits you can get, where you take a mold of your own ear. Then, a material is heated until it’s pliable and pushed into the mold. Later, the material hardens, and you’re left with a pair of earplugs the exact size and shape of your ear canals.

Typically, custom earplugs are designed to block water and sound, so they have more versatility than other types. That said, many swimmers report getting this kind of earplug only to discover that they’re not as water-resistant as they were hoping. Given the fact that custom earplugs can cost as much as $250 a pair, you’ll have to think carefully before purchasing.

Pros

  • Customized to fit your ears
  • Washable and reusable
  • Made from durable material that lasts

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can be challenging to put in your ears
  • Losing them while swimming is costly

Earplugs for Divers

If you’re a diver, you should also keep in mind that manufacturers specifically design some earplugs to equalize pressure on your eardrums at lower depths. They are called vented earplugs and are meant to prevent barotrauma of the ear.

That said, some doctors believe vented earplugs are not safe for divers. We recommend that you speak with an audiologist before purchasing vented earplugs for diving to be sure they’re the right fit for you.

Corded and Uncorded Earplugs

One final thing worth mentioning before we move on is that you can get earplugs attached by a cord. Corded earplugs can help you not lose them in the water, but they can also be a bit uncomfortable, so you’ll have to decide which is more important to you.

Corded earplugs also get in the way if you’re wearing a swimmer’s cap. For this reason, competitive swimmers typically opt for uncorded earplugs. After all, having a cord in the way adds additional resistance while swimming.

Why Every Swimmer Needs Earplugs

For many swimmers, earplugs are an essential tool to prevent moisture from entering the ear canal. While a little water in the ears may not sound like a big deal, some of that moisture can become trapped inside the ear, leading to many uncomfortable and painful conditions, including swimmer’s ear.

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear happens when water in the ear canal does not properly drain. Trapped moisture facilitates the growth of bacteria, which can lead to discomfort. Symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Redness in the ear
  • Trouble hearing 

These symptoms are often an indication of otitis externa or other types of ear infections. The good news is that swimmer’s ear will usually go away on its own as long as you can keep your ear dry. However, if the symptoms persist, it needs to be treated right away by a healthcare professional. 

If it’s not, it can become severe and lead to permanent hearing loss.

How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear (4 Key Tips)

When swimming, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions to avoid swimmer’s ear. Water entering your ear canals may seem harmless, but if your ears fail to drain properly, you could find yourself in a lot of pain. That said, keep these four tips in mind, and you should be able to avoid any unnecessary discomfort.

Take Care of Your Ears

For starters, you must take care of your ears. Wash them regularly and remove any excess wax buildup regularly. You should also never put foreign objects in your ears. You should only use Q-tips on the outer parts of your ears. 

Putting foreign objects into your ears can compact wax and push debris deep into your ear where it can cause damage. If you’re worried about excess moisture getting trapped in your ears, you can get ear drops made to dry up the water. 

Never Swim In Dirty Water

It’s generally not a good idea to swim in water that isn’t clean. High levels of bacteria can get you sick and cause infections, especially if that water becomes trapped in the ear canal. That said, it can be challenging to identify water with high levels of bacteria. 

Be wary of swimming spots marked with signs that say “High Bacteria Level” or “No Swimming.” There’s a reason the signs are there. Even when there aren’t any warning signs, that does not mean the water is safe to swim in, and water that appears clean may not be. So, if you’re unsure about the water’s quality, avoid swimming there.

Take the Time to Dry Your Ears

When we first get out of the water, we’re often more concerned with drying off to get warm. However, don’t forget to dry your ears. You can take the corner of a towel and dab it into your ear to soak up any excess moisture. If that’s not enough, try turning your head to the side and letting gravity do its thing, first one side and then the other. 

This is a good habit to have. Even after showering, it’s recommended you dry your ears. The less moisture in your ears, the fewer chances bacteria can grow. Making a habit of drying your ears greatly reduces your chance of infection.

Wear Swimming Earplugs

Finally, to help prevent swimmer’s ear, always wear earplugs when in the water. A solid set of waterproof earplugs minimizes the amount of water entering your ear while swimming. To find the perfect earplugs for you, check out the reviews in this article.

You may find a nice pair of conical earplugs to keep the water out of your ears, or opt for silicone putty. The choice is yours. 

Best Practices for Swimming Earplugs

Always having an effective and reliable pair of earplugs on hand is an essential part of being a swimmer. With that in mind, here are a few best practices for using and maintaining your earplugs.

  • Always put your earplugs in before you get wet. If you put them in after jumping in the pool, you may trap moisture in your ear, which is what you’re trying to avoid.
  • Store your earplugs in a waterproof container or case. This practice will ensure your earplugs are safe and dry before you put them in. It also helps to improve the longevity of each pair.
  • Before you purchase earplugs, make sure you can wear them with a swim cap if you use one.
  • Keep earplugs safely put away from babies and toddlers because they can look a bit like candy with bright colors and pose a choking hazard. 

Finally, always be aware of the lifespan of your earplugs. You can use silicone putty earplugs several times before they need to be replaced, but if they’re beginning to harden or lose their tacky quality, it’s best to replace them right away. 

Best Swimming Earplugs Comparison Chart

Product NamePriceCompatibilityMaterialUnique Features
Mack’s Aquablock Earplugs$For all agesPlasticEasy to clean, durable silicone construction, pillow soft and comfortable to wear
Putty Buddies Original Swimming Earplugs$-$$For all agesSiliconeComfortable in your ears, excellent water resistance
Speedo Silicone Earplugs$For all agesSiliconeKeep water out of your ears.
mold to the size of your ear canals
made from lightweight silicone
JBL Hydro Seal Spearfishing Aqua Plugs$SmallHypoallergenic, PolymerSnug and comfortable fit,
made of hypoallergenic polymer material
Hearprotek Silicone Swimming Earplugs$For all agesSiliconeEasy to put on and take off, triple flange ergonomic shape
Start Smart Soft Silicone Moldable Earplugs$For all agesSiliconeExcellent waterproof design, mold to the shape of your inner ear
Every Cares Silicone Swimming Earplugs$$$AdultMedical Grade SiliconComfortable and durable, an economic choice
. Honbay Silicone Swimming Earplugs$For all agesSoft SiliconeIt keeps water from entering the eardrum, cost-effective

Wrap Up

We know they’re only earplugs, but finding the best swimming earplugs for you can be a journey. With so many shapes, sizes, and variations available, it’s difficult to know where to start. That said, a reliable pair of earplugs is essential for swimmers to protect themselves from pain and infection.

Hopefully, we’ve been able to help you make an informed decision on a specific product that works for your individual needs. Now that you know what’s out there, you’ll be better prepared to prevent the uncomfortable symptoms of swimmer’s ear.

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