OK, I have an ear infection. The doctor says that I should not allow any water to go into my ears. However, I want to swim, but I don't want any water (even a tiny drop of water) go into my ears.

So, what should I do?

I heard there is a "Waterproof Swim Cap" for swimmers? See samples at this site about swimcaps.

But I'm not sure whether it will prevent any tiny drops of water from going into my ears. I doubt that.

  • Speaking as a former competitive swimmer, there is no 100% way to block all water from ears. The caps in your link come close, and you can use ear plugs as well. But, did the doctor say no water in the ears forever? Or just while the infection is clearing up? There are ways to help dry out the ears after swimming, but any answer I give would need that clarification.
    – JohnP
    Jun 16, 2015 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you're talking about otitis externa, an infection of the ear canal, a condition where you really should avoid getting any water in your ear.

You've already identified that the cap in question is not really waterproof.

The best way (and really the only way) to keep water out of your ear is to stay out of the water until your ear has had time to clear the infection.

To bathe, you can make a cheap waterproof ear plug by working a generous amount of petroleum jelly into a cotton ball, and using that as an earplug. You can also buy a special soft wax at most pharmacies. People roll a ball of the soft wax in their hands and press it into the outer ear.

Once the infection is healed, if you're not prone to such infections, you can use home-made or pharmacy bought ear drops after occasional swimming which will help maintain the proper environment to minimize infection in the ear. Use of a hair dryer on low to dry your ear is also useful.

High-grade silicone ear plugs can be used once the ear is healed, however, ear plugs can aggravate or cause the condition, so swimmers (or people occupationally required or recommended to wear ear plugs) usually consult with ear specialists to work out the best plug to use which will not cause damage to the ear canal, something critical for prevention.

Otitis Externa: A Practical Guide to Treatment and Prevention

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