Swimming and Ear Plugs

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

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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 weather they do any good at all.

People were ear plugs 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 ear plugs 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.

Some doctors don't like ear plug because too many people don't wash them well enough between uses and bugs breed on them. Yes you have to clean your ear plugs 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 breading ground for bugs which cause ear infections.

Yes the container itself has to be cleaned. Most people forget to clean the ear plug container which is also a incubator for germs.

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

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


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