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Which Are best for swimming? Headband vs Earplugs 

Need a pair of swim earplugs?

Ear plugs are a great way to protect yourself from water damage while you are swimming. This pair of Headband Earplugs are designed to reduce water resistance and protect your ears while you are swimming.

These Headband Earplugs will allow you to enjoy your swimming time without worrying about hearing loss or damaging your ears.

If you want more information, read this article!

Table Of Contents

Reducing water resistance as you swim

Swimming is a terrific all-around exercise. About 4.7 million adults swim at least twice a month – which isn’t unusual given the considerable benefits. Regular swimming can reduce anxiety, lower stress levels, and help you sleep. It can also enhance heart health, improve bone strength, and lower blood pressure.

When you are about to go swimming, you’ll probably grab a swimsuit, a towel and a pair of goggles.

However, there’s one piece that can make your swim even better: earplugs.

Blocking bacteria from entering the ear

Earplugs block water and bacteria from entering the ear canal, minimizing the risk of infection and the feared "swimmer’s ear.”

They can also help you hear crucial instructions during races or chat with friends during training by tuning out background noise.

When searching for swimming earplugs, you’ll want to get a pair that seals the whole ear canal and fits you comfortably. You must determine whether a one size fits all pair is suitable or if you’d lean towards a tailored bud size.

Buying a colourful pair is undoubtedly recommended  – there’s nothing worse than trying to find blue earplugs at the bottom of a pool mid-swim.

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Earplug options for swimmers

Although their job is pretty straightforward, the options vary vastly in effectiveness and cost. Here are the different swimmers' earplugs:

Custom plastic earplugs.

They are the most expensive option for choosing earplugs for swimming. Yet, to most people, they’re not the initial pick.

Foam earplugs.

While being super cheap, they’re not useful for water-related activities.

Great for clogging out snoring, loud music, and traffic noises, not so great for stopping water from getting into your ears.

Silicone earplugs.

The great thing about them is that they are pre-molded, so you can wash them after use and maximize their effectiveness.

Silicone putty earplugs.

This type of earplugs are the most popular option you see with swimmers; they are usually made of rather clear moldable silicone that you can roll into a ball and jam into your ear, getting the desired fit every time you use them.

Since you can fit the plug to your ear’s unique shape, you get a tighter fit, less susceptible to leaks. They are harder to clean, and with constant use, a pair will only last you a few weeks.

Ear bands

In combination with swimmer earplugs,  they become a doctor-recommended way to protect the ears. (This is a crucial thing to remember: a swimming ear band on its own won’t stop the water from getting to your ears. They need to be used with earplugs.)

Regardless if you are liable to infections of the ear (aka swimmer’s ear), you have a perforated eardrum, are tired of having to wear ear tubes, or use ear drops every time you get out of the water, the ear band helps keep the ears dry.

Buyers Guide

There are three primary factors you should consider: materials, fit, and noise reduction. If your earplugs do not meet one or more expectations for these factors, then we highly advise you to replace them. Here’s why:

Material wise, you need to be certain you are buying one of the following: silicone, putty, plastic, or any combination of the three. Don’t bother buying earplugs that don’t have at least one of these materials. The vast majority of swimming earplugs built from materials different from these are of poor quality. They won’t be able to last you even 5 swimming exhibitions. If you want to get a reliable and durable pair, then the materials mentioned above are the option to go with.

Buy earplugs made solely for swimming. A common characteristic we see with most buyers is that they are opt-in for sleeping earplugs, outdoor earplugs, or noise reduction earplugs (industrial work ones). This is a critical mistake you need to avoid. These kinds of pairs aren’t designed to repel water and will segregate all the noise near you (you cannot take part in conversations while wearing them). Look for earplugs designed explicitly for swimming to avoid these common issues.

Infection is another important concern you need to have in mind. Your ear canal may be allergic to certain materials. You need mustn’t interact with these types of materials by any means in order to avoid earaches.

The next thing on our buying guide is making sure that swimming earplugs are properly fitted. Earplugs that don’t feel cosy and comfortable to your ear won’t serve the purpose. You might use them a few times, but soon you’ll realize that this is not the correct way, and you must replace them.

Quality materials mold to your ear without effort. However, a rigid silicone or plastic material cannot form into your ear’s shape. Because of that, take your ear size into account. Try the earplugs before you buy them. If there are no problems, then you can put your worries to rest and opt for the earplugs that feel most comfortable. Be sure that you don’t buy small earplugs because they won’t be able to form a flawless fit, and water could pass through and potentially cause an infection. And a simple infection can cause agonising earaches.

And ultimately – noise reduction. Here is the tricky part; there are earplugs on both ends of the spectrum – earplugs that don’t interfere with the sound quality and earplugs that diminish the noise to a minimum. And here’s the deal:

You can pick swimming earplugs that will not allow any water flow to get into your ear, though you will hear nothing. If you want to be completely focused, and you don’t have to listen to anyone during your swimming session, this would be the option for you.

In case you pick a pair that will allow you to partake in a conversation and have no issues hearing, the airtight seal will be an issue. This means more water will seep through, and the chance of infection can jump immensely. That’s because swimming earplugs are usually made with branches. And the larger the branches are, the better you’ll hear instructions and other people talking. Unfortunately, more water will seep through. You need to make your evaluation here. These should be your pick if you are listening to instructions at most times.

Headband? or Earplug? The choice is yours

While there's no doubt that a good set of earplugs is essential for anyone with ears that can hold their own in the water, maybe you're not ready to head into the pool just yet. There is an alternative: headband-style ear coverings. They're not always practical, but they are just as effective for keeping your ears dry, and they look pretty darn fashionable. Read on to learn more about the benefits of each option and which might be most suited for your little swimmer!

Headband Vs Earplugs For Swimming: Which Is Best For You?

It's never a bad time to start working on those summer bod goals, and one of the most popular water sports is swimming. With such an activity comes inevitable challenges like food safety, sun damage, and ear infections - or worst case scenario - hearing loss due to all that chlorinated water seeping in through your ear canal...

Earplugs for swimming:

Ear plugs are great for reducing the risk of water entering your ear canal - but you should still apply some sun protection to your ears, especially if you're a fair-skinned person. If you swim frequently, you may be more likely to develop ear infections or fungus on your ear canal.

Ear protector vs earplug:

Ear protectors are the more technical term for a headband-style swimming accessory that covers both ears and usually includes some sort of neoprene seal that keeps external water from seeping in. They also offer additional protection from external noise and pollution.

Earmuffs are another type of headband-style ear cover that covers the ear canal and is usually available in solid colors and designs. These are designed to protect against noise, water splashing, and abrasion. They're not as protective as some other options, but they're certainly a great choice for casual swimmers.

Earplug vs ear protector:

Are swimming ear plugs better than swim ear protectors? Not necessarily. A good pair of headband-style ear protectors will typically offer more protection against water, wind, and UV rays, while most ear plugs only offer protection against water. Because of this, headband-style swimming ear coverings are a great choice for swimmers who enjoy other activities besides swimming; but if you're not big on protective gear (or you've got a little one who is just learning to swim), ear plugs should be a better choice.

Earplugs vs ear protectors:

Ear plugs can still be an effective choice for swimmers who have open ear canals. Keep in mind that they tend to be more uncomfortable than swimming pools, especially if the opening is small and the plugs are not engineered to rest against the outer ear. This is particularly true with ear protectors. They tend to fit more snugly against the outer ear canal and will increase hydrodynamic resistance through the swimmer's ears, which can reduce comfort significantly.

The best swimming ear protectors:

Headband-style ear protectors are typically designed with a tight fit around the ears. This helps prevent excess water from seeping into the ear canal, which can cause irritation and even damage to your eardrums. They can also help reduce wind noise, which can be a real nuisance for swimmers who spend more time outside than in the pool. However, they're often less effective than swimming ear plugs when it comes to keeping water out of your ears. Depending on where you swim and how much time you spend in and around the water, this could either be a deal breaker or barely cause a blip on your radar screen.

The best swimming ear plugs:

Ear plugs are another popular choice for swimmers who are particularly concerned with water-related ear issues. These items can be used as a secondary form of protection, or as an all-in-one solution for those who prefer a hands-off approach to swim gear. Because they rest at the very opening of the ear canal, they do not provide the same level of protection as full headband swimming kits that sit over your entire ear, which could pose a problem for swimmers with small or loosely trained ears. Some ear plugs also contain chemicals that help ward off fungus and bacteria. Ear plugs can be inserted by hand and act as a buffered chlorine treatment while you're in the water.

The ideal swimming earplugs:

If you're a swimmer or are looking for something that will block out annoying noises, earplugs are perfect for the job. These little babies can help keep water out of your ears, blocks out dangerous noise, debris and a host of other elements that could pose a threat to your hearing. However, they can cause some discomfort if they don't sit perfectly against the outer ear canal. This doesn't always happen - but it's not uncommon either. It typically depends on how small your ears are and the design of the product you choose. Some products have molded cushions that hug the outer canal while others have a sleeve-like fit over the whole ear canal to cover all bases.

No more swim goggles - swim ear protectors:

Do you like to swim with goggles? If so, you'll love swimming headbands. They keep your hair out of the way. They let you breathe easily while training hard, and best of all, they never fog up. You really can't go wrong with swim headbands. The only thing they don't really do is help you see when the water clarity isn't up to par.

How do I know if I need a swimming earplug or a swimming ear protector?

If you're looking for something that will block out noise and just keep the water out of your ears, an ear plug might be your best bet. If you're looking for something that will block out water while also allowing you to hear your surroundings and communicate with teammates and coaches, you might want to try a swimming ear protector.


There is no one perfect option for all swimmers. If you're great with your ears and enjoy the peace of quiet, giving a swim earpiece a try might be the best option for you. If you have loud noises to drown out and prefer to use more of your senses while swimming, don't hesitate to give any of these options a try.

There are so many out there - find one that you like best and try it out. There is no need to be afraid of trying something new. You might just find your perfect solution. Your ears will thank you!

We hope you enjoy this guide, and please let us know if we can help with anything else.

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

Hearprotek Ear Plugs for Swimming, [2 Pairs] Swim Ear Plugs Adults-Waterproof Silicone Water...
  • [KEEPS WATER OUT] With an waterproof mesh layer in the core of each ear plug, your ears will be safe from water, sound can enter but water cannot. High-quality design, you can use these earplugs not just to swimming but also for showering, bathing and kayaking. It is the perfect earplugs to prevent swimmer's ear in the long run.
  • [ERGONOMIC DESIGN] Double flanges keeps water out. Made from soft silicone bud, earplugs are so comfortable that you'll quickly forget you're even wearing them. Their contoured shape is designed to fit perfectly into the ear and prevent seepage.
  • [CUSTOM FIT FOR OPTIMAL COMFORT] Three sizes of securing wings for custom fit, keeps your plugs in place. And the contoured design offer a more locked-in fit to ensure that it doesn’t fall out of your ears when playing in the water. You can also customize these earplugs to your liking.
  • [EASY CARRYING] Each pack includes two reusable pairs with their own case, which keeps them safe and clean when not in use. A selection of 2 bright colors are available so if they dropped into the water you will never lose them. They are very stylish, assuming you like the color!
  • [FULLY REUSABLE & WASHABLE] These silicone ear plugs are your best value, for they’re reusable over and over again rather than throwing them out each time for a new pair! Use it while you do your exercise and plug out, wash them and keep in the protective.
EAR BAND-IT Ultra Swimming Headband - Best Swimmer's Headband - Keep Water Out, Hold Earplugs in -...
  • NEW & IMPROVED DESIGN with special features. From the makers of the ORIGINAL swimming headband, the Ear Band-It. Ear Band-It ULTRA is the most advanced swimmer’s headband in the world!
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  • IMPORTANT! MEASURE HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE PRIOR TO ORDERING! Sizing issues and the hassle of returning items can be avoided simply by measuring head circumference and referring to the size chart. Using a soft tape measure is best but a string and standard tape measure will work as well.
  • NOTE! Ear Band-It Ultra alone will NOT block water. It is NOT waterproof, and it is intended to be worn with earplugs. Putty Buddies earplugs are sold separately and highly recommended.
  • Invented by an ENT Physician and designed to hold earplugs in place while engaging in water activities. RECOMMENDED BY DOCTORS WORLDWIDE. Perfect for ear tubes, perforated eardrums, myringotomy, myringotomy tubes, otitis media, and otitis externa.
Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap (Black/White, Osfm)
  • Product Type: Hat
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Last update on 2023-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

Can swimming make me deaf?

Swimming can cause a condition known as swimmer's ear. Regular exposure of your ears to water increases the chances of getting infected. It's usually caused by bacteria found in water.

Water is natural and thus has existing bacteria. If swimming pools are not well cleaned and treated with chlorine, they harbor these bacteria.

When swimming, water gets in your ears and hides inside ear canals. It becomes a thriving area for this bacteria. If not treated well, this condition can lead to a chronic ear infection. Which contributes to hearing loss as you grow older.


Do you cover your ears with a swim cap?

You can wear a swim cap to cover your head and for your ears protection.

They can be uncomfortable to ears when swimming for long. However, you can wear them up to a point where you can't bear discomfort anymore.

Swim caps might let water inside your ears if not well-fitting. Waterproof material and that covers the entire ear will work for you.

For your ears' safety and comfort, wear a swim cap and earplugs. Your ears will not get water which, can cause otitis externa condition.


Why do I get water in my ears every time I swim?

Your ears can get water when swimming because they have open canals. Considering your ear's shape, you can still get water regardless of your style.

To prevent water from damaging your ears, use swimming earplugs or swim caps. Water in your ears makes you uncomfortable. You also lose focus, especially in competitions.

Every time you swim, ensure that you have the right attire. You might need to get underwater, and this means your ears will get filled with water. Remember, too much water in your ears can cause bacterial infection.


If you require more information, please check these references

Swimming With Tympanostomy Tubes , article, "jamanetwork.com", retrieved on, Tue 03-November-2020

The relationship of swimming and diving to sinusitis and hearing loss , article, "onlinelibrary.wiley.com", retrieved on, Tue 03-November-2020

Swimming with earplugs: are they worthwhile? , article, "onlinelibrary.wiley.com", retrieved on, Tue 03-November-2020

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