Types of Ear Plugs For Swimming

There are three main types of ear plugs used for swimming:

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There is the solid type

These are essentially a solid piece of rubber or other similar substance that looks a bit like a cone with no top and the thin end goes into your ear.

here is the rimmed or ringed types:

Still cone like but with soft ridges or rings. The soft ridges make it easier to fit in the ear and are supposed to do a better job of keeping the water out than the plain type above.

The fact of the matter is however that the rimmed type ear plugs only minimize the water getting in, they don't stop it. Now minimizing the water getting in to your ears may be all that you want and if that is so then these ear plugs are ideal but they will not do for those who want almost dry ears.

Ear molding plugs

These are the most expensive but also the most effective at keeping the water out of your ears.

There are two types of ear molded plugs:

  1. The pre molded type
  2. The Soft plastic putty type

1) The pre molded type:
These are the most expensive ear plugs and they also come in two types:
A) the Generic Pre Molded type
B) the personalized molded type

A) the Generic Pre Molded type:
are shaped to fit the generic internal ear shape. That is they are designed to an ear that a standardized or considered to the most common ear shape.

Although more efficient that all the above types, because these types of plugs are not specific to your ear canal they are usually the most ineffective of the two pre-molded types at keeping water out, but swimmers often chose to buy them over the personalized ones because they are cheaper and they look cool - they usually come in bright colors which at lest makes them easier than other plugs to find in the pool when they fall out and they will fall out - and they look like they will keep the most water out because they cover a large part of the inner ear. Unfortunately just because they cover most of the ear don't mean these plugs always seal that ear, thus they are the least effect at keeping water out.

B) Personalized molded type:
sometimes called prescription plugs because Doctors sometimes prescribe them and they are then specially made up; these ear plugs are specifically designed for you or your Childs ear as the case may be. A mold is taken of the inner ear and a soft plug is created that fits exactly that ear shape. Such plugs are by far the most effective at keeping water out but they are not perfect because as I have said before, no ear plug is perfect at keeping water out(link)

2) Soft plastic putty type:
Are a pliable plastic putty that can be molded by hand to fit most comfortably onto the ear canal: they are the second most expensive of all the types of plugs and they're almost as effective but considerably less expensive than the pre-molded type.

Next: alternatives to ear plugs and what not to use


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