Ear plugs are intended to keep sound and water out; while these are two different tasks, plugs themselves look almost identical with material being the only element separating one from another. Even if you were to purchase soundproofing plugs to keep your ears clear while swimming, they would still probably do the same job. Regardless, these modest foam plugs are essential for protecting your hearing and ear canals whether you’re a jamming live on stage, working with sound-intensive industrial tools on a construction site, or working on your breast stroke down at the pool. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide below for a more in depth look into the types of ear plugs available.
World's Finest Ear Plug - Mighty Plugs
Mack's AquaBlock Earplugs
Zoggs Aqua Plugz
Insta-Putty Moldable Silicone Putty Ear Plugs
Doc's ProPlugs - Preformed Protective Vented Earplugs
Moldex Glide Trio Reusable Corded Earplugs, 50 Count
Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
World's Finest Ear Plug
Xtreme Hearos Ear Plugs Xtreme Protection Series 14 pairs
Super Leight Foam Earplugs
The Mighty Plugs are definitely the best out there right now. They are moldable like putty earplugs but much softer than any other plugs on the market. They promise a 100 percent water tight seal and since they are so soft and moldable they will fit anyone from small children to large adult with no problem. They cost a little more than your average ear plug but they are well worth it considering the fact that they are reusable time and again. As an added bonus these plugs are excellent at blocking out noise so they serve a dual purpose.
Mack’s AquaBlock earplugs are largely regarded as one of the best out there and definitely the best pre-molded ear plug. Though they are pre-molded they are still very soft and comfortable inside the ear. The unique design makes it easy to insert them into the ear, block water while they are in the ear, and easy to remove when done. Because of their unique design they offer a fit close to custom for everyone. These plugs are a little more budget friendly and they come with a shatter proof carrying case that helps to keep them safe and intact for a long time. Even if you do lose a pair Mack’s offers two pairs per box.
These pre-molded plugs are awesome in a clutch. They do not come in a ton of sizes so it is hard to find the perfect fit. That being said they still block out water fairly well in both the inner and outer ear. They are soft and comfortable which is not always the case with pre-molded ear plugs. If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to other earplugs these are your plugs because they are dirt cheap for the protection they provide. They also come with a convenient carrying case that keeps them in one piece and one pair.
The name Insta-Putty pretty much sums it all up. They are soft, pliable, and easy to mold to fit any ear out there. The material used in manufacturing Insta-Putty is hydrophobic so it helps to push the water away from your ear. It is pigmented for a more natural look that doesn’t make it look like you have something growing out of your ear. These plugs are a little on the pricey side, but when you consider the fact that they really work and they are reusable they are worth the price.
The Doc’s earplugs look more like a hearing aid than an earplug, but that is part of the reason that they are so great. Their unique design helps to prevent all kinds of medical conditions because of their full ear coverage. They come in an array of sizes which allows for a more personal fit but may also make it difficult to find the right fit at first. They are very reasonably priced and quite comfortable when you find the right fit. They are meant for scuba diving but work great for swimmers too as long as you have a swim cap to help keep them in place.
The reusable Glide Trio earplugs are unlike anything else on the market. Instead of using a traditional moldable material, Moldex uses a super soft, hypoallergenic, PVC-free material which molds to your ear. Instead of a traditional moldable earplugs which simply fill your ear canal, the Glide Trio is twisted into your ear. This creates a triple seal throughout your ear canal, shielding you from harsh sounds with a high noise protection rating of 27 decibels, to blocking the tiniest drops of water. These plugs also feature long handles which make them easy to twist out when you’re done using them. The Glide Trio earplugs are reusable as long as you wash them after every use and you can also attach an option cord to wear them around your neck.
Mack’s earplugs are everything that you would want in a multiple use earplug. For starters they soft to the touch and function like a pillow for your ear canal. These non-porous earplugs are made with silicone and super easy to form as they work to keep out harsh sounds out with a noise protection rating of 22 decibels. They can also be used to keep out water, debris, and can even relieve discomfort on flights. The silicon material used is also hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and non-toxic. Mack’s is also nice enough to include a carrying case with their products to ensure their safety and cleanliness.
The Mighty Plug is made of a special, super soft materials including pure beeswax, sterile cotton & purified lanolin which also happen to be naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Specially designed to block out 100 percent of water and most harmful sounds, molding these plugs for ear canal insertion is as easy as rolling them between your fingers until soft. You then carefully press the plugs into your ear and allowing them to conform to the unique shape of your inner ear for a tight seal.
The plug material is reusable and so you can break off pieces for use by individual with smaller ear canals such as children. Since the plug material is antibacterial, there’s no immediate need to wash it after each use. Mighty Plugs also come with a handy carrying case to keep your earplugs clean and safe. Mighty Plugs do not have an NRR rating because the manufacturer claims they provide such a high level of protection they exceed current reduction rating limits.
Hearos Xtreme are what you envision when you think of earplugs. The Hearos Xtreme version are specifically designed to keep out any potentially harmful sounds with an excellent noise protection rating of 33 decibels. The soft foam makes these earplugs super easy to mold and insert into the ears where they can sit comfortably for hours. The material is also naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic. These earplugs don’t come with a carrying case because they are meant to be disposed of after a few uses.
Super Leight Foam Earplugs
There is a reason why this particular earplug is called the SUPER Leight. It is a one-time use earplug that is designed to keep as much sound as possible out with a noise protection rating of 33 decibels. They also form a tight seal to protect the ears from other hazards like dirt and other debris. These earplugs are soft to the touch and easily slide right into the ear before expanding to fill the ear canal itself. Howard Leight offers the Super Leight in both corded and uncorded options to better suit your individual needs. These earplugs do not come with a case because they are designed to be discarded after a single use.
Ear Plugs Buyer's Guide
Earplugs are pretty straight forward, but there are still a few considerations you want to make when choosing the right ones. There are more than a handful of styles and material combinations to suit your needs whether you work construction, play in a band, or simply want to protect your hearing at a loud concert. Regardless of their intended use, ensure both the style and material of the earplugs you choose offer a functional, comfortable fit. The great thing about earplugs is they don’t cost too much so you’ve the freedom to try out as many types and materials as you’d like before settling on the perfect pair.
Ear Plug Styles
Flanged ear plugs are cone shaped and get their name from the multiple flanges on each plug. They offer a universal fit and are usually used for swimming as the flanges offer multiple protective layers which keep water out.
Ergonomic ear plugs are designed to fit nicely inside the ear and lay flat on the outside. They’re usually made specifically for each ear and often times you will see them connected by a string or band of some kind. These are more designed to keep sound out in high decibel areas like factories.
Moldable ear plugs are probably the most popular because of their ability to be shaped. The one issue with these plugs is the material can be a little hard to soften in order to get them to fit inside your ear. Moldable plugs are frequently used in both aquatic and industrial settings.
Ear Plug Materials
Wax always comes in the moldable variety and is a favorite among swimmers because it keeps the water out. Wax plugs are very durable and can be reused many times before they need to be replaced.
Silicone comes in moldable and non-moldable types. This compound is popular because it’s softer to the touch than wax but still almost as effective in both aquatic and industrial environments.
These are usually cheaper, disposable earplugs intended for industrial use. It is important to check if these plugs are manufactured using latex in the case you have a compatible allergy.
As a certified lifeguard through both the Boy Scouts of America as well as Red Cross I have spent years on the water both inside and out. Living in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes has afforded me plenty of time to enjoy the pleasures that outdoor water sports provide. Through my years on the water I have been able to study and use many of the best products that have ever been used on the water.I have been writing for my own blog and online websites like healthmad.com for a little over a year. I have also been approached to write reviews on exercise and nutrition related e-books, while publishing my own reviews on many popular fitness and nutrition books, and DVDs.