Do Swim Caps Keep Water Out of Ears?

If you’ve noticed swimmers wearing swim caps, you might be wondering what their function is: do they keep water out of one’s ears while swimming?

Swim caps are primarily designed to reduce drag and protect hair from chlorine and other pool chemicals, not necessarily to keep water out of your ears. While they can provide a certain degree of coverage (assuming it’s worn over your ears), they don’t seal the opening of the ear canal completely, so water can still enter your ears while swimming. 

do swim caps keep water out of ears

The thing is, there are swim caps with ear pockets that are designed to keep your ears comfortable and keep water out. Furthermore, there are other options at your disposal to keep water out of your ears, so keep reading on to learn more about them.

How effective are swim caps at preventing water from entering ears?

Swim caps, when worn properly, can provide a level of protection from water entering the ears, but remember that this is not their primary function. While they can reduce the amount of water that flows around the ears and hair, they don’t create a watertight seal around the ears.

People have different ear shapes and sizes, and the standard swim cap design does not account for this variance, hence the cap’s limited ability to prevent water from entering the ears.

As such, some water may still seep in, especially during prolonged swimming or more vigorous water activities.

Can swim caps help prevent swimmer’s ear?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal, typically caused by water remaining in the ear after swimming, providing a wet environment that aids bacterial growth.

While a swim cap cannot completely prevent water from entering the ear canal, it can minimize the amount, possibly reducing the risk of developing swimmer’s ear.

However, if you’re prone to swimmer’s ear, using earplugs designed for swimming might offer better protection, as these are meant to seal the ear canal.

You must also be prepared to dry your ears after swimming by using a blow dryer on the lowest setting, using ear drying drops, or using specifically using an ear dryer.

Are there a specific type of swim cap designed to keep water out of ears?

Yes, there are swim caps that come with ear pockets which can potentially offer more protection for the ears. These are not guaranteed to keep all water out but may limit the amount of water that can reach the ear.

My swim cap with ear pockets doesn’t fully prevent water from entering my ears, what should I do?

To ensure water does not enter your ears, you might consider wearing swimming earplugs alongside your swim cap. Swimming earplugs are designed to seal the opening of the ear canal and are usually made from waterproof materials like silicone.

These earplugs are one-size-fits-all, and should fit well and be comfortable to wear. If the sizing is off, you can try using silicone putty as earplugs which can be molded to the shape of your ear.

You could also use a headband designed for swimming, which can help keep earplugs in place and offer additional protection against water ingress.

Are there any downsides to wearing swim caps to keep water out of ears?

While swim caps can provide some protection against water entering your ears, they aren’t perfect. Depending on the cap’s fit and design, it may slip off or shift during swimming, especially during vigorous exercise or dives. This could allow water to enter your ears, potentially increasing the risk of infections like swimmer’s ear.

Some people dislike how covering up their ears can muffle sounds and noises, making it hard to hear or communicate with others. Conversely, some swimmers see that as a benefit, as it allows them to block out distracting noises and focus entirely on swimming.

It’s also important to note that relying on a swim cap to keep water out of your ears might give you a false sense of security, leading you to neglect other preventative measures like using swimming earplugs.

Are swim caps or ear plugs better for keeping water out of the ears?

When it comes to preventing water from entering the ears, ear plugs are generally more effective than swim caps.

Ear plugs are specifically designed to seal the ear canal and prevent water from entering, while swim caps are primarily designed to reduce drag and protect the hair. Using them together can provide the best protection, with the swim cap helping to keep the ear plugs securely in place.

As with any swimming gear, it’s important to ensure a comfortable fit to prevent discomfort or potential complications.