Home Chat General Chat

Swimming: Ear plugs & nose clip

I am gearing up for my first Olympic distance triathlon this summer & I am learning to swim properly - well at least I am trying to.

I would welcome some advice from serious swimmers and experienced triathletes on ear plugs and nose clips.

I am getting problems with water in one ear which usually takes a day or two to rectify.  Should I invest in ear plugs or not?

I see people swimming with nose clips - what are the advantages please?

All tips, ideas and advice gratefully received.




  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    If water is being held in one ear get it checked out. There may be a build up of wax which is easily removed (get a professional to do it). Ear plugs are not a good idea on race day as they can make it hard to hear race announcements

    Some use nose clips to stop water getting up their noses which can cause irritation or annoyance. Tumble turns and some goggles/masks (causing eddies that wash back into the nostrils) are particular causes. However, they do stop you exhaling through your nose and can be irritating in themselves

    Whatever you choose to do practice with them in race scenarios in race conditions


  • mewjpmewjp Posts: 7


    Many thanks. Most helpful.


  • I race and train in ear plugs and a nose clip!

    I started using the nose clip because I was getting 'hay fever like' symptoms after every pool session and then got so used to it that I used it in open water too. I wouldn't swim without it now!

    The ear plugs stop me getting ear infections and also stop me from feeling dizzy after longer swims, esp in open water.

    The slight downside of both of these is removing them in transition, esp the ear plugs, and also loosing them in transition after dropping them somewhere between the water and my bike!!

    Like HarryD says tho, practice, practice.....

  • If you are getting problems with your ears try Earol "Swim". You can get it from Boots where all the pharmacy type stuff is, but it's a natural product made with Tea Tree oil.  I was getting really painful swimmers ear and used this and it stopped it pretty much immediately.  I think it just makes a bit of a barrier in your ear to stop water getting trapped.  It's really good.

    The other thing that might have helped me is stopping sticking cotton buds down my ears thinking that this might help, doh!

  • risris Posts: 1,002

    i use a nose clip mainly because i am incapable of preventing water from filling up my empty head via my nose. even in the bath i have to hold my nose to dunk my face - it's embarrassing. on the upside i don't have to worry about tumbleturns too much! 

    if you are going to use one then the best advice i have is to get a coloured one, so that when you (inevitably) drop it in the pool you can find it again. try a few out as well, different brands fit different noses better.

    in open water it can be worth tying the clip to the bridge of the goggles with an elastic band or two. yes, you will look like a berk, but when the inevitable swim-ruck clonk to the face happens you won't be wondering where the nose clip has gone. 

    if you can swim without one then all the above is a waste of time, though 

  • Use of a nose clip is only neccesary if you have a reaction to the chemicals used in the water. I get terrible flu/hay fever type symptons and the clip helps to reduce them but not enterily. it helps to keep them on if you degrease nose before putting them on.  Ear plugs,never worn them but is advisable in cold open water to help retain heat.

  • risris Posts: 1,002

    are you sure? i'd have thought the swimming hat (or two) that you would (probably) be wearing would make most of the difference in cold water, not the ear plugs.

    i'm happy to be wrong, but i can't imagine that heat loss through the ears is a major concern. i'm aware that some open water users get ear infections that ear plugs might help with (surfers or swimmers ear). not happened to me, but then i'm not a regular open water swimmer. 

  • DDTTRIDDTTRI Posts: 21

    I use a nose clip in the pool, and ear plugs in lakes.

    Personally i dont like relying on a nose plug in races in lakes, as it can get kicked off. However ear plugs and kicking hard in the last 200 metres get rid of that horrid dizzy feeling for me.



  • I really struggled with my breathing technigue until I tried a nose clip. It has made a huge difference to me - no more near drowning horrors. Certainly worth giving it a try.
  • I have used ear plugs for many years. I find them very comfortable to wear and use a swim hat to hold them in place. I hate having water in my ears as I find it takes ages to dry out. I use the Speedo Ergo Ear Plugs.

  • I train and race in ear plugs...don't be a fool like me and leave them in on the bike by accident though as you'll get funny looks from everyone you pass/get passed by! haha



  • You need specially designed diving earplugs. They are designed to block the water to be entered in ears. These earplugs are easy to wear and no side effects. 

  • While swimming what type of ear plug should be used? I am looking to get one. Suggest me a good one.

  • If water is being held in one ear get it checked out. There may be a build up of wax which is easily removed (get a professional to do it). Ear plugs are not a good idea on race day as they can make it hard to hear race announcements

Sign In or Register to comment.