Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ear Band-It review

Come to think of it, I believe that in all my years swimming in different pools, I have never caught an ear infection. However, when I recently tried the proper crawl posture with all the head turnings, I began getting water up my ears quite frequently.

Now, this is not a nice sensation and I could yet get an infection. To prevent that, I tried the progressive silicone earplugs which managed to keep most of the water out, but left my right ear hurting for the rest of the day and frankly worries me pushing it too much in one day. I also tried the silicone moldable putty earplugs which I bought by accident. On my first try, these only worked for a few yards before letting the water in with the even greater negative of keeping it in by not allowing proper drainage. I then came up with the idea of wrapping something around my ears to keep the water out and found that the ear band-it folks had already something on the market.

As such, the band is of a very simple design and stays put with Velcro. I couldn't find a black adult one, so I went for the purple to match my yellow swimming cap. It has a nice, tight fit and doesn't seem to loosen while swimming.

However, by itself it won't keep water out, nor is supposed to. It is intended as another layer of protection for the ear. The most benefit you can get by using it solo is altogether stopping the sudden inrushes of water that are bound to happen with all the movement. Water will still seep in and mostly get lodged in there.

Nevertheless by combining the moldable earplugs with the strap I found on the first 2 to 3 times that I could get most of the water out most of the time. A few drops might get in after twenty minutes or so, but didn't feel as uncomfortable as with the other approaches. However, after this initial success I found that I could not re-create the sealing fit and water began trickling in once again.

Compounded to that was wrapping the goggles'strap around both the swimming cap and the band. Attempting to do this was a frustrating experience and a lengthy one. Putting on the goggles before the strap could be an alternative, but that didn't work for me either. Frequently I had to fit and refit the goggle eyepieces before getting a proper seal. As for the putty, one has to resist the temptation of unplugging and re-plugging the silicone because one is less likely of getting a tight seal than when applying dry. It appears that the critical part is the flattening of the silicone towards the edges. I'm fully open that I might be the one to blame, but I am not getting consistent results.

In the end I feel that the progressive earplugs solo are the best approach if you find they don't hurt. Otherwise,  I would recommend this band paired with the putty but with flat enthusiasm. For myself, I decided to switch back to my no-headturns snorkel swimming. The inconveniences of the band and those of the other solutions make me risk it rather than deal with the hassle. Use your better judgement.

Surprising, but I cannot give it more