Swimming With Ear Tubes


  For some children, ear tubes are a necessary evil to drain out infection-prone ears. But should that stop your child from enjoying the water? We say no way! Here’s why…


Many parents think that kids with tubes have to stay away from the water completely. However, studies going as far back as 2005 have found that this is not the case. Turns out, if your little fish has tubes, clear (chlorinated) water doesn’t affect ears with tubes at all; and they don’t even have to wear earplugs in pools.


Word of warning: If your little fish likes to hang out in the deep end or is an ambitious diver, the doc may say earplugs are for you. Sometimes an increased pressure with depths of 6+ feet can force water into the small holes in the tubes and into the middle ear. And if your child is swimming in oceans, lakes, or rivers, earplugs have been said to protect against unknown bacteria found in those bodies of water.


If earplugs are in your child’s future, here are a few kinds to consider:

  • Part of a cotton ball coated in Vaseline
  • Wax plugs or other over-the-counter ear plugs
  • Ready-made fitted ear plugs
  • Custom ear plugs made specifically for a child’s ear

Note: A swim cap or neoprene headband will help to keep those earplugs in place and water out.


But, let’s face it, earplugs can be a pain. Kids hate them, they often fall out, and water can still get in. So, unless your little fish is diving deep into lakes, ditch the earplugs and let your kid swim in peace. Moms and dads, you can rest especially easy during Little Fishes swim lessons, because tubes and all, our highly sanitized pools are the cleanest place for their ears.