We have a pair of SurfEars 3.0 Ear Plugs in for review at Unsponsored for quite some time now so it is time for a full long term review report.
For any water user, and particularly those where the water/air temperature is cold, looking after your ears is important. Regular exposure to cold water/air can encourage the inner ear to protect itself.
The bone within the ear essentially grows to seal the hole. This leads to difficulty hearing and increases the likelihood of infection. This defence process is known as exostosis or surfers ear. If you spend a lot of time getting wet in cold climates then you need to know about surfers ear.
One way of helping to prevent surfers ear is to wear a neoprene skull cap when paddling or to use ear plugs. Ear plugs if they fit correctly will keep the water out but often compromise the ability to hear clearly. Custom ear plugs work well but can cost quite a bit.
The SurfEars 3.0 arrived in this silicon case. It has a magnetic clasp to keep it shut and small metal carabiner to clip it the case onto something.
Inside are the ear plugs, various different sizes of parts so the plugs can be customised, and the leash.
The storage case is nice idea but I tend to leave the SurfEar plugs looped into the straps of my helmet. The drainage holes are a great idea but you do get crap finding its way into the case. Especially if the case lives in the bottom of your gear bag.
The two different sized wings are key features of the plugs as it is these that help keep the plugs in place whilst paddling.
The design of these plugs is not hugely different from the kind of audio ear pods. Testing has shown that they feel the same (to me) as well. They certainly stay in place when running or jumping around. However when out in large surf I have found that now again one will pop out. This seems to be the right one more than the left which makes sense as I often have difficulty getting the wing to sit correctly in my ear. This is where the leash comes into play. The leash can be detached from the plugs. But this isn’t something I would ever consider doing.
The idea of SurfEars 3.0 ear plugs is that it keep water and cold wind out of your ear but lets sound in. This is pretty critical if you intend to use them on crowded beach breaks or indeed anywhere else where clear communication is a must.
On the water the ability to hear what is going on clearly is great. This combined with the fact they still keep the water out is fantastic. I am more used to plugs that keep the water out and heavily dull the sound.
At around £50 they aren’t the cheapest or the most expensive option out there. Doc’s Pro plugs run at around £15 and full custom plugs at around £80. As with all sorts of things like this is the fit is key. Custom plugs will always give the best fit but the SurfEars work equally well being both comfortable and effective.
So would I recommend them? Yes I would.
A couple of years on I am still using the same pair shown in the shots above. You can buy them, they arrive and you can start to use them. No need for moulds to be taken and the real plugs to arrive.