Plug it

Buying earplugs: sounds simple, but with a huge array of designs, styles and prices it can be a bit of a mission to pick the right set for your ears.

Do I need earplugs?

Some people swim without and don't have any trouble in the short term. But as the water temperature drops, the cold water in your ear canal can feel unpleasant and cause a few problems.

The ultimate cautionary tale is about a horrible condition called surfers' ear or auditory exostosis. It's caused by repeatedly exposing your ears to cold water over an extended period of time, and is found in year-round surfers. The low sea temperature and wind chill is thought to increase blood flow which stimulates bones inside the ear to grow. The result can be ear infections and hearing loss and one cure involves surgery and drilling - eek!