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Swimming & Ear Plugs

Swimming and Ear Plugs

You know earplugs would have to be the single most bothersome piece of swimming equipment that I know of.

Image of 2 children sitting on the edge of the pool wearing headbands to help hold in their ear plugs.
Happy Children With Head Bands Holding Earplugs

Not only is the advice given by the medical community as varied as the biology of the earth but there are even arguments as to whether they do any good at all.

People wear earplugs because:

  • They hate getting water in their ears

  • They are afraid of getting ear infections

  • They have a skin reaction or rash from the water 

But the most common reason for earplugs is tubes in the ears. Children who have had constant ear problems often have a very minor operation when tubes are inserted in their ears in order to assist with drainage and that is where the most common controversy comes in.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Some doctors don't Like Earplugs

Some doctors don't like earplugs because too many people don't wash them well enough between uses and bugs breed on them. Yes, you have to clean your earplugs after each and every use because if you don't, the wax from your ears stays on them even after they have been in the pool water. Even if you are convinced that you can see nothing, a thin layer of wax usually remains on the plugs and that collects dust and dirt, sometimes just from the surrounding air but most often from the container which they are kept in and that is a breeding ground for bugs which cause ear infections.

Yes the container itself has to be cleaned. Most people forget to clean the earplug container which is also an incubator for germs.

Most doctors insist however that children with ear problems and particularly with tubes use earplugs to minimize the amount of water that gets into the ear during swimming and swimming lessons. I said minimize because the keeping water out of the ears is problematic, as most earplugs are not watertight and some water always gets in. As yet I have not come across any ear plus that fit the way they need to in order to keep water out completely.

So why bother wearing earplugs? That's just what we will talk about next time.


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