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Best Swimming & Shower Earplugs: Keep Water Out of Your Ears

When choosing earplugs for swimming make sure to buy those that are specifically designed for your ears.

We have researched the best earplugs on the market for keeping water out of your ears.

Don't forget to keep in mind that earplugs must be properly fit to function. They are not meant to be used as hearing protection; only ear protection.

If you want more information, read this article!

Best Earplugs To Keep Water Out Of Ears?

Many people need to keep their ears dry at some time in their lives. That is why you are looking for earplugs to keep water out. This can be for several reasons, maybe the water you are swimming in is not the cleanest. You could have a history of swimmers' ear, or other ear infections.

Earplugs are a necessary part of any swimmer’s gear, but it can be tough to know which type of earplug will work best for you. Some plugs are better at keeping water out of your ears, while others are more comfortable or easier to use. Regardless of which plug you choose, there are a few other things to keep in mind, and in this article we will cover them all

More likely, your doctor has told you to keep your ears dry because of ruptured eardrum, or some other ear problems.

Most people will not have any difficulties if they get water in their ears. Our skin acts as a barrier to water, and will usually do an excellent job. Our ear canals have delicate skin, but under normal conditions you will have no problems if water gets in your ears.

This article will detail ways for you to keep your ears dry, using plugs and caps to keep the water out. There will also be a section on how to dry your ears should water get in.

The most important take away from reading this should be that you never clean your ears by putting things inside. For example, cotton buds or Q-Tips.

These can compact the wax or damage the skin in the ear canal. Once the skin is damaged, infection is far more likely until the skin has repaired its self.

Best Earplugs To Keep Water Out

So, you need ear plugs to keep water out. Before you make a choice, there are a few things that you should know.

First, not all water is equal. The water that we wash and bathe in is far cleaner than water that we swim in. Keeping water out when swimming in the sea, or rivers is more important than when we shower, bathe, or swim in chlorinated pools.

Also, drying the ears properly should stop most infections, like swimmer's ear. If you are healthy and have not scratched the skin in the ears. However, anyone – especially people who spend a lot of time in the water, can develop swimmer's ear, or other infections. If this happens, it is essential to keep the ears dry until the condition has gone.

So if you need to keep your ears dry, the best earplugs to keep water out fall into the following four categories

  • Swimming Ear plugs
  • Moldable Silicone Ear plugs
  • Swimming bands
  • Swimming caps

Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, but all of them are fairly good at keeping the water out of ears. Below we discuss all four

Moldable Silicone Ear plugs

Moldable ear plugs are the most popular plugs with swimmers, as they are the best earplugs to keep water out. They are made of a ball of moldable silicone, which you softly press into your ear. The silicone then forms the perfect shape of any ear, and as it is waterproof, it does an excellent job of keeping any water out.

These plugs will fit any ear, if it is for a child, break a small piece of the putty off so the ball to be pressed into the child’s ear is the correct size.

These plugs are reasonably hard to clean, and can only be used a few times. Once they become dirty, or do not stick to the ear well, they should be discarded. If used regularly, you may get a week or twos use out of each pair.

These earplugs are less noticeable when you are wearing them, and will also reduce the wearers hearing as the ears are blocked

Swimming Ear plugs

Should you not like pressing silicone into your ear, or want an earplug that is green, and reusable practically forever, then the other option for the best earplugs to keep water out, are ear plugs designed for swimming.

As these are not molded to the exact shape of the individual’s ears, they are not as good as the silicone balls above. However, they should still do an excellent job of keeping the ears dry. When ordering these plugs, there may be different sizes for adults, teens, and children, as to make a waterproof seal, they need to be tight in the ears.

These plugs are usually made from soft waterproof material, like silicone, to feel comfortable in the ears. As they are small, they will not be readily noticeable when you are wearing them. Like the Moldable Ear plugs they block the ear, so will reduce the wearing hearing ability, but less so.


Swimming bands

Swimming bands are usually made of a waterproof material like neoprene or similar. These bands help protect against infections like swimmer's ear, but do not keep all the water out of your ears. These are great to use with the above plugs, both moldable and swimming ear plugs, as they will be held in place by the band. These bands will also offer a second level of protection from the water.

When wearing a headband, you do not have to worry about your earplugs falling out and getting lost.

A lot of children (and adults) dislike how it feels when their ears go under the water. Wearing one of these headbands will usually stop this feeling and make your children feel a lot more confident when they are in the pool or sea. Their ears may still get wet, but they will not get that gurgling, which sounds like the head is filling with water.

Swimming caps

Swimming caps will reduce the amount of water that can get to your ear canal, but will not completely stop it. These caps are usually made from two materials, Lycra or Latex – although some are made from other materials. The only actual difference in the cap and how they fit on the head.

These caps were designed originally for professional swimmers. They improve their aerodynamics, allowing them to swim more efficiently in the water. They were not designed as most people think, to keep a person’s hair and ears dry!

If you wear a swimming cap, it is going to improve your performance in the pool. If you have long hair, stop it from going all over the place when you are in the water. It will also provide you with some protection for your hair from the chlorinated water.

If you are going to wear a swimming cap, and have to keep 100% of the water out of your ears for any reason, then you will need to wear one of the other earplug underneath it.

Latex caps are tighter and better at keeping the water out. Fabric caps are not as tight, so if you have long hair, then it will not get pulled as much by a fabric cap. Both types of cap offer some protection for your hair from chlorinated water.

When you are swimming outside, swimming caps offer the best sun protection. The areas that they cover are 100% protected from ultraviolet rays. You do not have to worry about sun cream being washed off and reapply it to these areas. This is especially important for bald people (like me), as when you are swimming outside, your head as always exposed to the sun.

How To Dry Water In Ears

Even when you have great earplugs to keep water out, there are going to be times when some water gets in your ear, after rain, a bath, or some other situation. So the next thing that you will need to know, as you are trying to keep your ears dry, is how to dry out ears when they get wet?

Nature has designed the human ear to drain water once it gets in, but there are several things you can do to help.

Put nothing into the ear canal. E.g., cotton buds. This can make things far worse!

How to dry ear canal – Six best ways to help drain the ear


Pull Earlobe

Tilt your head towards the ground, and gently pull on your earlobe, this will straighten the canal, and gravity will help drain the water

Shake your head

Tilt your head towards the ground then shake the head from side to side vigorously, the water should be loosened and come out

Lie on your side

If you lie on your side for a few minutes with your head resting on a towel, gravity should cause the water to run out of your ear.

Use a hairdryer

With the hairdryer on its lowest setting, and a foot away from the ear, move the dryer back and forth over the ear until it has dried. Always stop if your ear gets hot.

Ear Drying Drops

This may seem a bit weird, but you can get drops that are designed to get water out of your ears. Put a few drops of this into your ears and tilt your head, and the water should come out. The fluid also has chemicals designed to help stop infections like swimmers ear.


The best ear plugs to keep water out fall into the following four categories

  • Swimming Ear plugs
  • Moldable Silicone Ear plugs
  • Swimming bands
  • Swimming caps

Best earplugs to keep water out. The number one most effective earplugs to keep water out are swimming earplugs. They have a great seal, blocking a wide range of sound and keep most of the water out. They can be moldable and therefore fit almost any non-flippant ears.

Moldable silicone ear plugs should be used though in limited circumstances as their seals are not always perfect making them unsuitable for all swimming situations. If you do chose to use these, please follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Swimming bands on the other hand are also effective. However, they can sometimes not be made to fit exactly as they would need alteration to fit a few people.


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

Unicorn Shower Caps, Double Layers Bath Hat for Women to Cover Long and Thick Hair, Reusable...
  • 4 color of the fun unicorn on the caps very cute.Black, Pink, Blue and Grey. Your child will fall in love with taking shower
  • Suitable for kids, adult and big head.Tips- As adult if hair are super long or thick this may not be perfect
  • Made of Plastic. Diameter about 10.6 in. Recyclable, non-disposable, can be cleaned for repeated uses; Lightweight, Elastic,Waterproof, Double Layer
  • Keep hair dry and stay in place. Shampoo won't touch your hair. Hair style will not mess
  • Don't have to wash your hair eveyday, save time. Perfect gift on vacation
Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs, 12 Pair – The Original Moldable Silicone Putty Ear Plugs for...
  • THE ORIGINAL AND #1 SELLING - USA’s original and #1 selling moldable silicone ear plugs. Provides safe, non-toxic, non-allergenic waterproof protection and protects hearing from loud noises.
  • THE ULTIMATE IN EARPLUG COMFORT - Mack’s soft moldable silicone putty molds very comfortably to the unique contours of any ear. These multi-use earplugs are great for sleeping, snoring, swimming, studying, bathing, travel, loud events, concerts, flying discomfort, motorcycles, etc. Lab tested and proven to help relieve airplane ear pressure and pain due to flying.
  • #1 BRAND FOR SNORING - Mack’s is the #1 Doctor Recommended Brand to get a good night’s sleep when sleeping with a snoring spouse. Mack’s Earplugs have been saving marriages since 1962.
  • #1 BRAND FOR PREVENTING EAR INFECTIONS - Mack’s is the #1 Doctor Recommended Brand to help prevent swimmer’s ear infections (otitis externa). Safe for use with ear tubes. Provides protection after ear surgeries. Also helps prevent Surfer’s Ear (exostosis). Mack’s are so trusted, they are the Official Earplugs of USA Swimming!
  • #1 BRAND USED BY DOCTORS - Mack’s is the #1 brand of moldable silicone earplugs personally used by doctors. Mack’s original soft silicone putty formula provides a better, more comfortable fit and seal than custom molded ear plugs. These ear plugs are MADE IN THE USA and carry a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22 decibels (US Standard) and a Single Number Rating (SNR) of 30 decibels (EU Standard).
Hearprotek Swimming Ear Plugs, 2 Pairs Waterproof Reusable Silicone Ear Plugs for Swimmers Showering...
  • [Ergonomically shaped] Hearprotek ergonomic ear plugs are shaped to fit snugly inside the ear and lay flat against the outer ear, more so than flanged models. This ensures a watertight fit and it’s a pefect protection against swimmer’s ear or surf’s ear.
  • [Comfortable & Safe] Made from soft silicone that is extremely soft and comfortable to insert in the ears and wear all the day. With the help of these earplugs, you will not face any kind of itching, scratching or irritation in the ears.
  • [Bright Colors] The bright coloring of the earplugs will make you stand out and identifiable whether or not you have your earplugs in ears or not. Perfect for swimming, bathing, water skiing, canoeing and other water sports.
  • [Easy carrying] The earplugs come with a reusable handy storage case, which you could just shove in your bag along with a pair of goggles to not to miss your pool session.
  • [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.
SUIEK Swimming Headband - Free Swimming Earplugs a Pair (Blue, M: 6 M- 3 Years, Head Size...
  • Small: (Recommended for ages 0 - 6 Months, Fits head size range 12"-15"); Medium: (Recommended for ages 6 Months - 4 Years, Fits head size range 13.5"-17.5"); Large: (Recommended for ages 4 Years - 12 Years, Fits head size range 16''- 20''). PLEASE MEASURE THE SIZE OF THE HEAD BEFORE BUYING !!!
  • Additional Gift: 1 pair of Silicone Ear Plugs (Swimming headband + Ear Plugs Tie-in use effect is better)
  • Helps Ear Protection: Prevent water from entering the ear canal, Avoid bacteria that cause otitis media, otitis externa and other ear canal diseases
  • Great For Swimming and Bathing: Use at the pool, beach, or lake. Can also be used in a bath or wash hair at home
  • Elastic: Adjustable Velcro closure (They float for easy retrieval)

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

Do foam ear plugs work for swimming?

Without proper protection, your ears are exposed to water and allow moisture to enter the ear canal. It may not let the water to drain well and you may have a greater chance of developing a swimmer's ear. If you keep your ears as dry as possible while swimming, it reduces the risk of developing an infection in the ear.

Foam earplugs are fit for sleeping and reducing loud sounds, they are not ideal for swimming. The best option for swimmers is to use moldable silicone earplugs because they are waterproof and can fit perfectly in your ear because they are moldable.

Do ear plugs give you ear infections?

Ear protection like earplugs and earmuffs are an amazingly effective technique to keep away from early hearing damage. However, if not used properly, earplugs can cause infections in the ear. This can take place because of the development of earwax or repeated use of the same pair of earplugs. The wax drains little by little out of the ears, but prolonged use of earplugs can pack the earwax tightly into the ear canal, which can cause tinnitus.

Prolong use of the same earplugs can also cause bacteria to build upon the earplugs, which then grows your ear because of the moist conditions. Ear infections can cause pain, redness, loss of hearing, and discharge, and can even cause undeviating hearing damage without medical intervention.

Is there an alternative to earplugs?

A cap can be used in place of earplugs if the primary purpose is to block out the water. For swimmers, the purpose of earplugs is to keep water out of ears so they can use a swimming cap if they don't want to use earplugs.

The cap reduces the amount of water that can enter the ears, but it will not completely prevent it. Some swimmers also like to wear a swimming band it protects the ears from infection this also cannot completely keep the water out of the ears therefore it is recommended to keep using earplugs because they are most effective.


If you require more information, please check these references

Barotrauma of the ears and sinuses after scuba diving , article, “link.springer.com”, retrieved on, Fri 01-May-2020

NEW BONE GROWTH DUE TO COLD WATER IN THE EARS , article, “jamanetwork.com”, retrieved on, Fri 01-May-2020

Water Relations and Composition of Wheat Ears Grown in Liquid Culture: Effect of Carbon and Nitrogen , article, “www.publish.csiro.au”, retrieved on, Fri 01-May-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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