Plug Those Lugs – The Best Earplugs for Swimming

If you enjoy swimming or other water activities and sports, it is inevitable that at some point you will want to think about your ears, and if you need swimming earplugs to block out the water. There are numerous reasons why you might want to do this. You may be looking for peace and quiet, but it is more likely that you are worried about swimmers ear, which can be a real source of pain for those of us who love to swim. A lot of people don’t like the sensation of water in their ears, and use plugs to try and avoid this. Whatever your reasons, we’ve compiled a list of the best earplugs for swimming to ensure you get something you are happy with and that suits your own needs.

Whether you are looking for yourself, or need the best ear plugs for kids, we’ve got something suitable on our list.


Insta-Putty is a very good brand of ear plugs and is designed to be used for all sorts of water uses, even showering and bathing, but of course swimming and watersports are the priority. It is great for reducing noise in a lot of different circumstances but for swimming use they do a great job of keeping the water out, especially considering how flexible they are, molding to the shape of your ear.

They are marketed as reusable, but eventually they will get dirty (never a good idea to put something dirty in your ear) or will lose its flexibility and not stay in place. This is perhaps the reason why they’re sold in such big quantities.

As you’d expect, they’re non-toxic and hypoallergenic so you have some peace of mind regarding your ear health. They don’t specifically have to be used for swimming, but are a great choice for water uses due to their reliability, flexibility and comfort. The vast majority of reviews are very positive with people complimenting how hard-wearing the earplugs are. They may not be the nicest looking product ever, but they’re great quality.

Speedo Ergo Ear Plugs

Speedo is a brand synonymous with swimming and swimwear, so it is only right that they continue the heritage of their products with a range of ear plugs. The Ergo (presumably short for ergonomic) earplugs, live up to their name, with a very comfortable design which slips in easily and conforms to the shape of your ears. The snug fit also ensures that water is properly blocked out and that any noise is reduced too.

These come with a branded Speedo box for storage and ensuring that it doesn’t get dirty or damaged, and can be bought alone or as multiples in order to make sure you have spares. The Speedo Ergo is designed to be reusable, and is a lot more reusable than a lot of its competitors, but whatever earplugs you buy, they probably wont last for years. These are well reviewed and provide a lot of quality, as we’ve come to expect from the Speedo brand.

Macks Soft Flanged Aqua Block Earplug

Macks are another manufacturer who provide a lot of earplugs for swimming. As well as being some of the cheapest earplugs they also offer a lot of quality, and the main benefit of the Soft Flanged Aqua Blog is the amazing comfort. To look at this product you would probably think it looks anything but comfortable, but the three flange design is incredibly comfortable as well as effective, triple the protection!

  • Wonderful for preventing swimmers ear and surfers ear
  • Cn be used for swimming, water sports and even swimming and showering.
  • The pre-molded earplugs are made of soft, comfy silicone which fit in with ease.
  • Designed to increase sealing and comfort with the triple flange style.

Macks offer other earplugs too, but these are perhaps their best for swimming and strike the perfect balance between comfort and effectiveness. Without getting a custom fitting product you’ll be hard pressed to find something much better, especially at the price range. A huge amount of positive Macks earplug reviews show you all you need to know.

Docs Proplugs Medical Grade Ear Plugs

A lot of the ‘basic’ ear plugs are designed as one size fits all and do a basic job of keeping the water out, which may be all you need, but these are designed to be ‘medical grade’ and are great for those already suffering with swimmer’s ear, infections or other issues.

One of the other key features is the fact that you can buy multiple sizes, this allows you to find the perfect fit and maximum comfort. For this reason, I consider these to be the best swimming earplugs for kids, and the ‘tiny’ and ‘x-small’ sizes are great for little people and adults alike!

The promotional material for this product states that they’re recommended by ENT medical professionals as a preventative measure and for those already suffering with ailments relating to the ear or sinuses. The reviews of this product are generally immensely positive about the features including comfort and effectiveness at keeping the water out of your ears even if you have existing issues.

Decibullz – NRR 31 Custom Molded Earplugs

Custom molded earplugs such as the NRR31 from Decibullz are something of a ‘holy grail’ in terms of earplugs. As such, the cost is definitely more, as you are paying a premium for the personalized nature of the product, but if you can afford it, the extra cost is easily justified.

Immersed in hot water, the Decibullz become pliable and allow you to mould them to shape. Simply put them into your ears firmly and allow them to adopt the correct shape and size. As well as this, they’re re-moldable, so if you need to alter them it is easy to do.

They’re designed to cut audio volumes by 31 dB, which is excellent if you want to isolate the noise, but in terms of their merits for swimming, the excellence comes from how effective the perfect size and shape can be for stopping the water from entering your ears.

They are very unlikely to fall out or be uncomfortable, and if this does become an issue you can just mold them again to make sure they are perfect. A huge amount of five star reviews show how happy people are with the noise reduction and watertight properties of the NRR31 from Decibullz. If you want something you can mold yourself at home that will be more effective than the generic earplugs, these come with our recommendation.

What Makes a Good Earplug for Swimmers?

So, as you can see from the above models, there are certain criteria that ensure that a set of earplugs is good quality and appropriate for swimmers. If you simply search for ‘earplugs’ online you’ll likely be met with a lot of models made of foam and other materials that aren’t appropriate, so you need to get something that is watertight such as silicone. The trade off here is that it can sometimes be less comfortable, which brands have tried to tackle with the ergonomic design, alternative sizes and flexibility of their products, and in doing so have made some great options.

Ease of use – Some earplugs are much easier than others. Is the insertion a simple process? Can you quickly make sure that they’re comfortable before swimming? The best earplugs will not take up a lot of time before you take to the water.

Effectiveness – This is one of the more obvious ones, but they’ve got to do the job properly. There’s no point in earplugs that don’t keep the water out, or that fall out when you’re diving or taking part in watersports.

Moldable and Customizable – Being able to mold them to your own ears is the best case scenario. The cost is more, but for obvious reasons they are more effective, and having them perfectly snug within your ears is great for comfort, plus minimizes the chance of any water sneaking through.

Reviews – As with most products, there are some options on the market that aren’t the best. Luckily, we live in an age of product reviews and recommendations and it doesn’t take long to investigate and work out which products are not the best quality.

Avoiding Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a very unpleasant ailment, and is the reason a lot of people will be looking for ear plugs. It stems from water remaining in the ear after you’ve been swimming or in the water for another reason, which makes bacterial growth easier and leads to infections. It can be very painful and irritating.

The inside of your ear is not an easy place to dry, so the only measures you can really take are preventative, and the way to avoid it is to make sure you have an effective set of plugs that keep the water out well. Custom plugs are amazing for this, but many of the standard models will do a good job too.


There are multiple reasons people buy ear plugs, and even multiple reasons to have them whilst swimming, but it is generally accepted that they are a pretty good idea, and if you are frequently in the water, we would definitely recommend owning some. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money, with many earplugs available under $50 or even under $20 that will do a fine job, and some of the more disposable models are just a few bucks. The recommended models within this article are well reviewed, and you should quickly be able to work out which are best for you.