Swimming Earplugs Prevent Dizziness! How come I never knew this. For my entire swimming existence, I was never told that earplugs (ear plugs) could help alleviate dizziness (Vertigo) and nausea after a swim. Normally being dizzy wasn’t an issue, but during longer bouts of a mile or more I would often finish and then try to exit the swim with wobbly legs. It was sort of hit or miss. Sometimes I felt great, other times I was quite dizzy. It could take a good 10 minutes or more before I would start feeling like myself again.
Swimming Earplugs Prevent Dizziness | Vertigo
EARPLUGS are probably one of the most underrated devices in the swimming world. I always thought that earplugs were to prevent Swimmers Ear and the occasional nuisance of having water in your ears. To be honest I thought they were sort of nerdy and less manly. Come on I am a man who wants to be MANLY! I never inquired as to their other benefits, namely preventing dizziness or vertigo.
When Kathleen suggested I try out her ear plugs, I was sort of hesitant, but I figured what the heck. She was claiming that it kept her warmer. You see we swim in a place called Barton Springs, which is located in Austin, Texas. The water temperature is a steady 68 degrees, even in the hot summer when the temps are hitting 100+ degrees. Needless to say the water is quite cold when you first get in and many people opt for wetsuits.
Over the years of swimming at Barton Springs, I always felt a bit queasy and dizzy when exiting. I blamed it on the water temperature and over rotation of my body while swimming. I never really thought much about what the water and cold might actually be doing inside my ears.
“Vertigo can definitely be due to a temperature difference between the motion-sensing apparatus in each ear (vestibular apparatus). In fact that can be tested by pouring ice-cold water in one ear. People who have slight congenital difference in the bone and/or vascular structure on one side versus the other are more prone to vertigo issues.” George Gillson MD PhD
My first test with the ear plugs was a major success. I swam 800 meters, which turns out to be 4 lengths (Barton Springs is more than 200 meters long). I felt warmer while swimming, but it came with a big surprise. I didn’t feel dizzy at the end. What could this be? Yep you guessed it. The ear plugs. A new discovery, I felt like one of those explorers who finds something they didn’t expect. Eureka I exclaimed…OK maybe not.
Could ear plugs have helped in my Triathlon racing days? I think the answer is an absolute YES. I raced everything from Olympic to Ironman and I know for a fact that coming out of the swim I was always wacked and dizzy. This dizziness would stick with me on the bike for a while. At some point, usually around mile 60 of the bike, I would feel really nauseas. I always felt that the swim had something to do with it. I feel quite certain that if I had used ear plugs I would have had a performance boost. Heck I might have even gone under 10 hours.
Ear Plugs Keep You Warmer
If you’re into open water swimming or swimming in colder water, you will find using earplugs will actually keep you warmer than not using them. I am quit certain this isn’t a placebo effect of using them, but actually has sound science behind it. Irregardless I felt warmer using them in Barton Springs.
I wish I had know about earplugs when I raced in the UK. The Half Ironman water temperatures were in the upper 50’s. To say it was cold, was an understatement.
Macks AquaBlock Earplugs
The Earplugs I currently use are the Mack’s AquaBlock Earplugs. The fit great and I actually like the color.
Let us know what your experiences are with earplugs and swimming. We love to hear from you.
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