Wearing earplugs for snorkeling or swimming in general can help you avoid a type of ear infection known as Swimmer’s Ear. You can also wear earplugs if you dislike the feeling of having water in your ear after you leave the water. There are a few types of earplugs to choose from, and snorkelers who also dive should be aware that diving with earplugs is not recommended unless they are wearing vented earplugs.
Why Wear Earplugs for Snorkeling?
First of all, most people don’t need to wear any earplugs to get the most out of snorkeling. There are plenty of snorkelers that go into the water with barely any equipment; just their snorkel mask and fins and they do just fine. So why should some people wear earplugs for snorkeling?
Unfortunately, not everyone can just go into the water with no consequences. If you find that you feel dizzy or nauseous each time you snorkel or swim, then you may be suffering from swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when there is water trapped in the ear canal that results in pain, infection, and inflammation.
You can even get an ear infection just by showering or swimming in a pool; it is not something that is exclusive to saltwater. Furthermore, people who try to dry their ears by sticking things into it to try to absorb the water, such as a cotton swab, can actually cause an ear infection.
It would seem the best solution for ear infection is to prevent it from happening in the first place. By wearing swimming earplugs, you can prevent water from ever clogging up your ears ever again.
Moldable Earplugs for Snorkeling Along the Surface
For those who only plan on snorkeling along the water’s surface, then regular swimming ear plugs will be sufficient. The issue with regular earplugs is that they don’t always have the best fit and tend to pop out.
With moldable earplugs, you can get an earplug that perfectly molds to the shape of your ear. This forms a seal that is completely waterproof and airtight. Furthermore, since it matches the contours of your ear, it offers comfort that cannot be matched by other earplugs. If you only plan on snorkeling along the surface, then check out these moldable earplugs.
Vented Earplugs for Diving
For those that plan on diving down while snorkeling, consider wearing vented earplugs. When you dive, there’s always a chance that regular earplugs could pop out or get wedged in too far from the resulting water pressure.
Vented ear plugs avoid this problem because they are manufactured with small holes that simultaneously prevents water from entering and allows for pressurization. We recommend you check out these vented earplugs, which are highly-reviewed and created by a doctor. Make sure to wear the appropriate size otherwise they will not be as effective.
Other Types of Ear Protection
If you don’t like the idea of wearing earplugs, there are other ways you can protect your ears from an infection.
Mask with Ear Covers
You can get a special snorkel and scuba mask that has an ear cover which prevents water from entering your ears. It is non-invasive, with a feathered skirt that seals tightly around your ear rather than in it. Furthermore, it uses a one-way valve that connects the pressure in the ear canal to the front of the mask and lets air flow freely between these areas. With it, you won’t have to worry about equalizing air pressure in your ears when you dive down. We recommend this one.
While ear drops won’t prevent water from entering your ear, they are an inexpensive and non-invasive way to mitigate any lingering effects that water in your ear may cause. With these ear drops, you will speed up the drying process of any remaining moisture in your ear, and also strengthen your ears’ delicate lining to prevent further irritation. They are also a great way to unclog your ear canals of any stubborn water.
Some don’t like using the ear drop solution because they dislike how it feels or find it ineffective. In that case, another option is to use an ear dryer. They work exactly like how you think they do; by blowing warm air into each ear to dry them faster.
For instance, this ear dryer looks and is used like an ear thermometer that you’d see at the clinic. Unsurprisingly, that’s because it was also made by a doctor, and they can dry your ears within a minute after you get out of the water. You can use it whether you are snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, or any other water activity. And since it comes with four washable, color-coded earpieces, you can share it with your family.
Ideally you will get an ear dryer that is compact and portable so that it doesn’t occupy much space in your bag. That way, you can also take it with you on vacations.
An ear infection can really ruin your snorkeling experience, but luckily there are some easy ways to prevent it. You can wear regular earplugs to keep water out, but then you cannot dive as the pressure will cause them to get stuck. To prevent this, wear vented earplugs that allow for pressurization and keep water out. If you feel earplugs are too invasive, you can consider wearing a snorkel mask with ear covers.
Another solution to the ear infection problem other than keeping water out is to quickly dry it out after you’re done snorkeling. You can use ear drops for water sports or an ear dryer to quickly cause the water to evaporate, and prevent swimmer’s ear without relying on earplugs. Enjoy snorkeling again by taking better care of your ears with the products recommended above.
You may be interested in other snorkeling equipment such as snorkel masks for beards, rash guards, flotation devices such as snorkel vests and flotation belts, or snorkeling wetsuits.