• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Ear plugs for scuba diving, a mini review of the 2 different types

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by caruso, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. caruso

    caruso Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Long Island, NY
    1,663
    1,184
    113
    I started using Docs Pro Plugs a few years back because I hated the itchy squishy feeling I got from water in the ears, which persisted for an entire dive vacation and for some time thereafter. Although the problem can be addressed with various ear drop remedies, it's still a hassle to use them, they don't always work that well, and why not prevent the problem rather than deal with it after the fact?

    The Docs Pro Plugs are vented, and they have a tiny hole to equalize pressure on both sides of the plug which is necessary to avoid a squeeze in the outer ear, and they work as advertised. My ears are almost always pretty dry even after several repetitive dive days. Keeping water out of the ears also avoids infections and may help with equalizing..

    The problem I had with the Docs Pro Plugs is they can make the inside of my ear a bit sore- after several days of 5 days per day on a liveaboard last year my ears were getting sore to the point of having small abrasions. They also have a tendency to fall out even if inserted properly; I've lost 3 of them in the past year, over the course of about 100 dives. They have an optional "leash" which means if one falls out you probably won't lose it since it's attached to the other one which is hopefully still in your other ear. The leash can be an issue, it can hang up on tank valves or can get caught up on a hood when it's removed, yanking the plugs out.

    On this trip to Little Cayman (2 days in), my ears were again sore, so I decided to try a spare set of ear plugs I got for my girlfriend. They're called JBL Hydro Seal plugs, and she's been using them after she lost her Docs Pro Plugs and Divers Direct had only this brand. These plugs are softer and considerably more comfortable. They're a more complex design, and they stay in the ear much more securely. The plug that goes inside your ear is a mini tube as compared to the Docs plugs which is simply a hole in the clamshell shaped plug, and it's probably for this reason that I got no water in my ears at all today when using them for the first time.

    The Hydro Seal plugs don't come with a leash and they don't need it because they won't come out until you remove them.

    Hydro Seal Aqua Ear Plugs
    Capture.JPG Capture1.JPG
     
  2. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,527
    534
    113
    I've been using Docs Pro Plugs for a couple decades. Lost my fair share of them, but once I got my act together about keeping track I seldom lose them anymore.
    IMO they don't help equalizing at all, they do keep water (mostly) out of the ears, and they help a lot to minimize outer ear infections. I've had a couple pair for literally years now and they are starting to 'delaminate' for want of a different term. The clear seem to hold up better than the red, but they are easier to lose.

    A couple years ago I got the JBL's. They do work, probably about as well, and they do seem to be more secure. I used them for awhile and went back to the DPP. I actually can't tell you for sure why. Maybe it was simply years of familiarity. FWIW I dive cold water most of the time so a leash is not an option as donning the hood would pull them out. I also wear at least a light hood even in the tropics (I hate reg bubble noise), so I don't lose them underwater.

    I still do ear beer after diving. It's a small and easy insurance against infection. Had one once....never again. I watched a friend miss most of her vacation at Lembeh due to an outer ear infection. That's a double painful way to lose an important dive trip.

    Personally I think they are a wonderful attribute to diving, especially multiple day tropical diving.
     
  3. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,899
    1,436
    113
    I never heard of the others, good info. Been using pro plugs for years, and they do help me equalize. I still use ear beer.

    I don’t like the leash on the pro plugs, its stiff and generally uncooperative. I always replace it with very thin elastic cord thats not as long. This is challenging to accomplish but I much prefer it. Still need to buy the plugs with a leash though. If you buy with no leash, there is no hole in the plugs for a leash and its quite difficult to add one in the right spot.
     
    caruso likes this.
  4. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    7,319
    4,723
    113
    I have a set of DPP, had them for years, never used them. I'm always afraid the tiny hole will clog with ear wax or something and I'll have serious equalization and eardrum problems. Am I being too skittish?
     
  5. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    11,921
    7,475
    113
    Abrasions in the ear canal is candy for infection! Pretty counterintuitive to my mind
     
  6. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,899
    1,436
    113
    I’ve never had an issue. If you sense something amiss you could always remove them, assuming they’re not too trapped under a hood or something.
     
  7. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,527
    534
    113
    I always put them in my mouth and suck through the hole to make sure it's open. A little saliva helps them to seat more easily. (Yeah, yeah, gross....but it works).
    20 years, no problem, nor have I ever found one plugged, but I still make sure.

    No problem with abrasion including tropical vacations of 3-4 dives/day for up to 2 weeks.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  8. caruso

    caruso Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Long Island, NY
    1,663
    1,184
    113
    Why do you need to use ear drops after using ear plugs which should be keeping your ears dry? If you're still getting water in your ears, that's another benefit of the Hyroseals. After my second dive day my ears remain bone dry.

    Another nice feature of the Hydroseal plugs. No leash is needed, there isn't even a place to attach one. They aren't coming out unless you pull them out- as long as you put them in properly which I'm still working at- I still need someone to double check them and most of the time they're not in right.
     
  9. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,899
    1,436
    113
    The proplugs don’t keep your ears completely dry, or claim to. They specifically say they let a little water in.

    I like a leash, just not theirs. Its good there are choices.
     
  10. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,527
    534
    113
    Bone dry? I doubt it. Behind the plug is an airspace. The plug has a hole in it to equalize. That means it MUST let some water in with depth compression = equalization. May not be a flood, but some water definitely gets in. How much does it take to create an infection? How much trouble is it to do a simple preventative measure? I think you know what camp I'm in.
     

Share This Page