Have You Thought About Swim Plugs?

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Have You Considered Using Swim Plugs?

Many of us will begin 2020 with the “new year, new you” jingle very much ringing in the back of our minds. Perhaps you have finally decided to go book that holiday you have been so been wanting or signed up at the gym to work on improving your body, fitness, and mind. Whatever your New Year resolutions, make sure you are looking after your ears.

Swim plugs are the ideal to take on holiday or to the gym, keeping your ears protected from water that may enter the ear canal when swimming or taking part in water sports. January is also the perfect time to organise water protection for your children’s ears, which will change in shape more quickly than adults and are likely to need a new set at the beginning of every year. Put a reminder in your calendar!

There are many water protection options available at Hearing Aid Accessories including:

  • Generic fit swim plugs: Swim plugs that can be purchased and dispatched on the same day – no impressions are required. Available in adult and child sizes. Some brands will contain filters to allow some ambient noise to come through meaning the wearer does not have a “blocked off” feeling.
  • Custom fit swim moulds: Custom fit swim plugs offer the best water protection as they are made using impressions of your ears – they will fit the exact size and shape of your ear canal and concha. Custom swim moulds are made from a durable soft silicone, meaning they are hard wearing and comfortable in your ear and also float in water. You can choose your favourite colour too!
  • Swimming headbands: Bands that are worn around the head and over the ears to cover the ears. They can be worn with or without swim plugs and offer additional confidence to the wearer or parent, knowing the swim plugs cannot fall out or be taken out.

Why wear swim plugs?

The benefits of wearing swim plugs:

  • Increased protection from ear infections and irritations particularly if you suffer from a perforated tympanic membrane (ear drum).
  • It is GP and ENT recommended that you use water protection if you have a current perforation or history of perforations. Swim plugs are also recommended for children or adults with grommets (tubes through the eardrum to equalise pressure and prevent glue ear). If you are regularly partaking in water activities then wearing water protection aids can also reduce the risk of the development of water-related otitis externa, known more commonly as swimmer’s ear.

If I choose to have custom swim moulds, what is an impression and what does it involve?

An impression is quite simply a mould taken of the shape of your ear canal and concha (the bowl area situated just outside the entrance to the canal). You will be invited to one of our Hear4U branches (Hinckley, Leicester or Rothwell, Northamptonshire) to have your impressions done. The procedure for impression-taking is as follows:

  • Otoscopy – the physical checking of the outer ear and canal with an otoscope. If any contraindications are identified, then the impression may not be able to be taken and the audiologist will refer to your GP. Occluding wax is a contraindication and will be removed before the impression is taken.
  • An otostop is carefully placed into your ear canal and then checked with the otoscope. This will prevent impression material from reaching beyond the depth the audiologist requires.
  • The impression material is mixed by hand or in the cannula if the audiologist is using an impression “gun”, then syringed into the ear to fill the canal, concha, and helix.
  • The impression material will take a few minutes to set and will then be removed from your ear.
  • Otoscopy – to check all material has been removed.

The impressions are then sent off to the manufacturer where they will be scanned. The scans are used to create your moulds. When they are received we will invite you back to have the mould checked for a perfect fit. As children’s ears change so rapidly, you can expect the fit to last around a year and then you will start to see gaps in the seal or find that water is getting in. At this point, a new set of moulds with new impressions will be required to maintain ideal protection.

Do not delay – keep your ears happy and healthy in 2020. We look forward to supporting your swim plugs needs!

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