Earwax buildup due to swimming and earmold insertion

Don’t know if there are any swimmers out there but I’ve had a reoccurring problem with ear wax, swimming and hearing aids. Pretty much every year I’ll have ear wax removed from my both ears. Due to HA molds pushing wax down my ear canal. But let’s say after having ear wax removed for (four - six months) I start swimming two or three times a week at local pool. After swimming I always wait an hour to two hours to insert my HA’s but in most cases ear wax is still damp which means it gets pushed further down my ear canal. So after a few trips to the local pool I start getting serious ear wax build up because custom molds push wax downward. Now ten years ago I bought special ear plugs (from Audi) made for swimming and they really don’t work well at all. One - the swimming ear plugs actually go further into my ear canal then my custom HA molds. Which means if any dampness gets in, wax goes further down the rabbit hole. Also when I get out of the pool and pull ear plugs out I notice dampness in my ear canal. Which means water leakage. Swimming plugs are “tight fitting” but at times have popped out while I was doing laps. So what ever I put in my ear canal (plugs or custom mold) after swimming forces wax deeper and deeper until my ear canal is completely sealed off.

Now someone is going to say get you ears cleaned out every six months but that’s costly. Last time I had ear wax removed the “ear doctor” charge $271 of which Medicare paid $115. Yea - rip off city. Also I’ve not found any over the counter wax removal kit that works. Forget drops and the blue rubber ball syringe for removing wax. It doesn’t work and has messed my my hearing short term. Also lightly using Q-tips is not really a solution.

So if any swimmers out there (that use HA) let me know your thoughts. Maybe just stop swimming period???

I’m a swimmer (3x week) with a RIC aid in one ear.

After swimming I will have water in my ear. After draining my ear, whatever wax is in there will be pretty soft and likely to plug the wax filter.

I use a bulb syringe and warm water to clean my ear canals, but I do it way more often than once or twice a year. I’ll do it preemptively and it seems to keep things cleaned out. I think staying on top of it keeps the wax soft enough that it washed out easier and is less likely to get impacted deep inside.

But everyone is different and that might not work for you.

I have a feeling your problem isn’t caused by swimming but might just be aggravated by it. Around here there are a lot of “doc in a box” clinics inside grocery stores. Many of them have flat, reasonable, prices for things like ear wax removal that someone other than a doctor can do.

Have you tried silicone ear plugs like these?


Each plug is just a blob of silicone that you knead and plaster in your ear. It only goes as deep as you make it. They stick really well and have to be pealed off.

My ENT had me use them for a while (in the shower) to prevent infection after he put tubes in my ears.

I have a lot of trouble with ear wax especially in the left ear. From what I understand ear wax is suppose to drain naturally. HA complicate that process. For whatever reason water or fluid get trap in that ear. I have a cold right now and my left ear has fluid trapped in there. I was a regular swimmer up until about two months ago and I felt like my hearing went down. Thought it might be due to swimming don’t know. My hearing did increase after awhile but have not returned to swimming. Need to work on the knees so doing walking and the elliptical machine. I don’t wear plugs because I believe for me they cause infections so don’t wear them. I try to do the peroxide and blue bulb thing every two weeks but it is usually every month. I put a few drops in my ear and let it set for about ten minutes and then do the other ear. After that I flush the ears out with the blue bulb with warm water at least three times. For me I believe it keeps the wax at bay. Its called self maintenance. I don’t like doctors can’t remember last time I was at the doctor’s for ear wax. It sounds like it might be a good idea to start a self maintenance program in keeping the ear wax at bay unless you want to go to the doctor every month or so.

TexasBob - the white silicone ear plugs you suggested are more for taking a shower. No way will they stay in someone’s ear while swimming laps. When I ordered expensive special ear plugs from Audi, a mold was taken for each ear at a cost around $160. The plugs completely cover my ear canal and have a very deep (too deep) insert end to them.

My ear wax build-up is probably very normal - possibly on the limited side. But when you’re pushing a large custom ear mold in your ear every day - it’s going to force wax deeper and deeper. Throw in “damp ear wax” from swimming and it just a matter of time before I have compacted ear wax in both ears. I actually think my swimming ear plugs might penetrate too far into my ear canal, so I might try to shorten. But still water seems to work its way into my ear. Of course after swimming I take a shower and have to decid if I leave ear plugs in or take them out. Even if I leave them in after showering I still have damp ear wax.

Someone once told me there was a “ear wax dryer” you could buy to dry out ear canal/wax before inserting HA’s but I’ve yet to see such a device anywhere.

As a swimmer and LONG, LONG-time wearer of HAs, I recommend these plugs for the pool or ANY water sport.

I’ve worn them for years and years in pools, lakes and ocean. I even wear them every time I get my hair done, during the rinse (head back in the sink, water literally cascading INTO the ear canal) to keep unwanted water out of my ears.

TRY THEM. Definitely plug the ears up when in the pool. Water is the kiss of death to delicate electronics, and it sounds like you have the double-whammy of ear wax to contend with.

I just bought a swimcap that covers the ears, too. I’m hoping that the combination of ear plug and swimcap will keep my ear canals BONE dry when I go swimming. :smiley:

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The plugs you recommend do fit into your ear. I don’t know if they go in any less than an aid so the OP might end up with the same complaint of wax being pushed deeper.

Here’s the mfg website description:

I need to order new goggles and a new suit, I might add these to my order and see how they work. I normally don’t use plugs when swimming, so this might take me a while to get used to.

KSMatthew, Since these TYR plugs are NOT custom molded, they definitely do not extend into the ear canal deep enough to cause any impacting of ear wax. What I love about them is that they have that wing that curls right into your ear cup. There is a definite RIGHT ear plug and a LEFT ear plug, which you have to get used to inserting with a bit of a twist till it seats flat in the ear cup. I’ve also bought Zyliss brand and yet a 3rd type at Amazon - all basically being the same shape, material and concept in fit. HAPPY SWIMMING!

I swim with a snorkel mask, so I don’t even have to practice my breathing. What could be easier or more enjoyable! :smiley:

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