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Kitesurfing ear protection? what is it, and why you need it

Kitesurfing and earplugs

If you’re planning to kite surf in the near future, you need to protect your ears from cold. Get the right kind of ear protection and protect your ears in the best way possible.

If you kite surf a lot, it’s time to think about protecting your ears. Whether you’re in the sea or inland water, your ears will be exposed to wind and cold. As a result, you can develop surfer’s ear which may lead to hearing problems.

If you’re a kite surfer, protect your ears. Get the right kind of ear protection that will shield your ears from cold and dirt.

If you want more information on this, then read this article!

Why are earplugs for kite surfers important?

If you often kite surf in the sea or on inland water, it is crucial to shield your ears from cold such as wind and water. Especially in Autumn, Winter, and Spring, it is very crisp for our delicate ears, and because of that, we can suffer from the so-called surfer’s ear.

In order to prevent this, use earplugs for kite surfers that will protect your ears from cold and dirt. You also want to keep hearing well, so the earplugs must be sound-permeable.

You also want to protect your ears against hard blows on the water where you can experience an eardrum tear. So, for earplugs to be adequate for kitesurfing, they need to provide protection from:

  • Cold
  • Wind
  • Water
  • Dirt
  • Hard blows

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If you require the best hearing protection and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended products.

What is a surfer’s ear?

Surfer's ear (exostosis) is a condition that causes irregular bone growth within the ear canal, which can cause severe damage to the ears. Irritation from cold wind and water exposure causes the bone surrounding the ear canal to form lumps of new bone growth, constricting the ear canal.

As soon as the ear canal gets blocked by this condition, water and wax can become trapped and increase the chance of an infection and hearing loss.

These bone growths narrow your ear canal, resulting in lower sound wave transmission, a plugged feeling, and conductive hearing loss. If ear infections become more frequent, hearing loss noticeable, or they grow big enough to touch each other or block your eardrum; they will need to be removed surgically.

You can avoid all this by purchasing a good set of earplugs! A big downside (outside of having an operation) is six weeks recovery period and no water contact during this recovery period! It’s worth mentioning that this condition is also encountered (although less often) in warm water locations as the wind cools the water even on a warm day.

Sadly, many kiters are struggling with this problem. That's why we strongly advise wearing ear protection before you hit the water, especially on a freezing and windy day.

The good in the bad is that the forming of exostoses is a slow process. If you wear earplugs to keep the water and wind out of your ears, you shouldn’t develop the condition in the first place. If you already have exostoses, they probably will not continue to grow if you prevent further cold water/wind exposure, whereas the exostoses you already have are permanent and will not abate by wearing plugs.

Kitesurfing at cold temperatures can lead to a surfer's ear. You can already damage your ears if the water temperature drops 20 degrees, so still protect them well during a kitesurfing session. There are several ways to protect your ears against the risks of getting a surfer's ear. Here are some options you should consider:

Surf Cap

You should wear a surf cap in the spring and autumn, and especially during the cold winter months.

A surf cap blocks the cold wind blows and will give your ears proper protection against the cold. If you have long hair, it keeps your hair in place, too, so your vision won't be impaired from the side wind or after a water crash.

Surf Earplugs

An effective way of protecting your ears from the cold while kitesurfing is by using SurfEars. The improved 3.0 SurfEars fit even better than the previous edition. Since your left and right ear are dissimilar, there is now a plug for your left and right ear. They are also clearly visible through different colors.

The outside mesh of the SurfEars, where the sound can pass through and the water can not sometimes broke with the 2.0, but in the new 3.0 SurfEars, the mesh is made with advanced construction behind the mesh so that you can no longer poke a hole in it with your finger. Also, the composition of the gel has been changed to close the ear even better for water. This prevents hearing damage and bone growth (surfer's ear).

Another alternative is Doc’s Pro plugs, very affordable earplugs that can easily be adjusted for deviating ears. This ear protection is also broadly used by divers and endorsed by multiple ENT doctors. The plugs have the asset that they close the ear canal in the auricle, so there is nothing in your ear itself.

For kitesurfers, there are so-called ‘vented’ caps with a tiny hole in them, so that the cap does not draw a vacuum in your ear. You can only use them a few times, though.

The right size

The size of the earplug is crucial (like the size of your kite). With the right size, the cap closes your ear properly, and it is in the right place in your ear. If you are going to buy a new set of hearing protectors, go to a store where you can try them.  The majority of earplug brands supply fitting sets so that you walk out of the store with adequate size. If you know what size you are wearing, you can order them online too.

Surf Spray

The ultimate solution to protect your ears while surfing/kitesurfing is by using water-repellent ear spray. This spray brings an oil-like substance into the ear, which lets water slide directly off the ear, preventing dirt from sticking to it. This type of spray usually consists of natural ingredients, such as olive oil and 0.5% tea oil.

Surfers ear and Kite Surfing

It’s a common misconception that earplugs are just a filter for water, preventing the surfers ear from using noseclips and booties. They do this by stopping water from coming into your ears and you can still feel waves crashing all around you!

Earplugs are an important tool for kite surfers as they block out the wind noise which would otherwise damage their hearing. One warning sign of surfer's ear is ringing or buzzing in your ears when there is no external noise playing. If your hearing has been affected, it may be permanent or have to be managed with hearing aids for life.

Wind noise

As a kite surfer, you are often very close to the wind. This means you are breathing in air that has traveled into your ears through a microphone-like opening in your ear canal. The sound of the wind screaming through your ears can be deafening and cause damage to your ears even with the plugs in. You need to be able to hear instructions from other surfers and be able to hear warnings from lifeguards on the beach.

Prevent Blocked Eustachian tubes

Blocked eustachian tubes are the number one cause of surfer's ear and not being able to hear for surfers. Noseclips and booties do not prevent your eustachian tube from being blocked, so if you want to protect your ears, you need to block the wind from entering your ears in the first place.

Avoid exposure to loud noises

The sound produced by catching waves can be very loud, and over time, the ear damage from that sound can be much amplified. A second cause of damage is being exposed to a lot of stressful environments such as construction sites or noisy clubs.

Prevent ear damage from machinery in the water

Another common cause of ear problems is being near machinery in the water such as jet skis or paddle board masts. They can be very loud and can vibrate inside your head, causing damage to your ears. Hearing aids are not the solution for this problem as they do not block out all of the noise and could cause you to lose hearing in one ear.

Reduce wind burn on your face and ears

Wearing earplugs while kite surfing drastically reduces both windburn on your face and wind noise in your ears. By reducing windburn on your face, you can stay out longer without suffering from chapping and abrasions. This means you can really maximize the days on the water!

Protect your ears when using kiteboarding equipment

Many of the most common causes of ear damage with kite surfers are caused by common items such as your bar, board and kite. All of these items can cause a lot of wind noise and wind burn when used improperly. Wearing earplugs helps to reduce both of these problems while making it possible for you to use higher settings on your bar without suffering from fatigue in your ears.

Maintain your safety awareness

Some of the most important things in kite surfing involve staying aware of your surroundings. Being able to hear is critical to being able to be aware of approaching boats and waves. Wind noise can be a bit of a distraction, especially when you are trying to concentrate on other aspects of your ride. By reducing wind noise with the earplugs, you are more likely to hear signs that are important for the safety of yourself and others such as lifeguard whistles or shouts from other kite surfers.

Allow you to enjoy the scenery more

One of our favorite things about kite surfing is being close to nature. Without earplugs, you can experience the smell of the ocean as well as listen to the sound of crashing waves. Being able to hear while kite surfing enhances your experience by allowing you to focus on nature instead of wind noise.

Allow you to maximize the days on the water

You can maximize your kiteboarding time by wearing earplugs because your ears are much more protected while wearing earplugs versus when you are not wearing them. The more time you spend experiencing the wind with your ears, the longer you will have to surf!


Not everyone will have hearing problems and a few people will be very unlucky, but many surfers are suffering from symptoms of ear damage. If you are one of these people and you don’t have the money or ability to get the right treatment, then I strongly recommend that you buy silicone earplugs.

They can be used in both kitesurfing and windsurfing, which is why I recommend them for kite surfers. They are also less expensive than other kinds of plugs like foam plugs because they are made out of silicone which is cheaper to produce than different kinds of foam.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

ADV. Eartune Aqua U Surfer/Swimmer Ear Plugs, Blocks Out Water Lets Sound in, Universal-fit with...
  • 【BLOCK OUT WATER, LET IN SOUND】 The Eartune Aqua prevents water from entering the ear while surfing and/or swimming. The waterproof membrane blocks the water but allows the sound to come through so you can hear the surrounding.
  • 【UNIVERSAL FIT】 Comes with 3 sizes of ear tips (S/M/L), 3 sizes of ear hooks (S/M/L) to fit all ears with different shapes and sizes.
  • 【PREVENT SURFER'S EARS & SWIMMER'S EARS】 Eartune Aqua U Ear Plugs prevent Surfer's Ear and Swimmer's Ear from developing. Protect your ear with the Eartune Aqua and enjoy the water activities that you love.
  • 【MUST FOR ALL WATER ACTIVITIES】 Protect your ears while swimming, surfing, diving, snorkeling, and any other water activities.
  • 【HYPOALLERGENIC & NON-TOXIC SILICONE】 The ear plugs are made from 100% hypoallergenic silicone, perfect for maximum comfort and prolonged use. They do not cause itching or allergic reactions like other plastic or PVC material.
Waterproof Super Soft Silicone Ear Plugs for Surf, Surfing, Swimming by Seki - Block Out Water,...
  • 👂🏻 Protect your ears from water, cold air and dirt without compromising your hearing or balance. Your ears need to last you for a lifetime. Don't let anything permanently damage your hearing.
  • 👂🏻 SEKI's surfing ear plugs allow so much sound through it's easy to forget you're wearing waterproof ear protection.
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Creatures of Leisure Surf Ears Plugs 3.0 Red Teal
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  • LET SOUND IN KEEP WATER OUT - The worlds only surfer ear plugs that helps protect your ears without affecting your hearing. Our new plugs are designed to let sound in so you can engage with the lineup
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Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

What is the difference between kite-surfing and kite-boarding?

There is a thin line that differentiates kite-surfing from kite-boarding. Kite-boarding is a water game involving a double tipped board that looks like a wake-board. For safety, strap the board on your feet, though pros use it in freestyle mode, i.e., strapless.

Kite surfing uses a surfboard that isn't strapped to the feet. It's used on the shores with the help of a kite. Kite-boarding is safer for beginners, while experienced sailors use kite-surfing. While skate-boarding uses twin tip boards, kite-surfing uses directional surfboards.


How can I protect my ears from the wind?

Harsh weather conditions can harm your ears. Strong winds are noise and can cost you hearing ability. Motorcycle riders are more exposed to strong winds. That's why a motorcycle comes with a helmet for protection.

There are specific devices that can protect your ears from wind beside a helmet. By the way, helmets are basic wind protectors stuffed with earmuffs to protect you. You can put the earmuffs on when riding.

Others include earplugs, which stay inside the ear and can work well with the head helmet. They cancel the wind noise but maintain an allowance to let you listen to the engine performance. Noise-canceling headphones are bulky. They can't fit in the helmet, although they serve the intended purpose.


How fast can you go on a kite- board?

Kite-boards are for surfing. Their speed is dependent on water calmness and wind strength. Beginners can do a speed of between 15 and 25 mph, while veterans can do between 50 and 60 mph on a good day.

When the winds are very strong and the water unstable, kite- surfing might not be possible. Because of the high tides' drowning risk. So kite-board speed may not be constant thus unpredictable.


If you require more information, please check these references

Kitesurf injury trauma evaluation study: A prospective cohort study evaluating kitesurf injuries , article, "www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov", retrieved on, Tue 10-November-2020

Injuries among Portuguese kitesurfers: The most affected body regions A pilot study , article, "revistas.rcaap.pt", retrieved on, Tue 10-November-2020

Human recreational exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria in coastal bathing waters , article, "www.sciencedirect.com", retrieved on, Tue 10-November-2020


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

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