Best Ear Protection for Jet Skier
How can Jet Skiing affect your ears
When changing direction of your Jet Ski, cold water entering your ear can cause bony growths within your ear canal to develop. This can trap water and debris which has the potential to cause a painful ear infection. In some causes when the growths begin to close the ear canal, causing deafness, surgery is required to remove them.
With better tecnology making thicker wetsuits and neoprene accesories on the market more people are jetskiing in colder waters and in winter months than ever before, increasing the risk of surfers ear.
If you are concerned you have Surfers Ear, it is worth consulting your Doctor for an ear examination.
Ear drum Rupture
Hitting the water at high speed while wakeboarding can cause a rupture to your ear drum, as well as pain and immediate dizziness from exposing the middle ear to cold water can also occur.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Constant exposure to the loudness level of a jet ski engine can range from 85dB to 105dB at high speed. This causes damage to the inner ear hair cells especially those responsible for high frequency hearing. Noise induced hearing loss is permanent and measures should be made to reduce the occurance of it.
Prevention Tips for Jet Skiers and their ears
- Wear a CE approved for water sports helmet that is durable and lightweight
- The loudness level of a jetski engine exceeds normal safe listening exposure. Ear protection is essential for maintaing healthy ears while jetskiing.
- Alter the direction you turn more frequently. By always being in the habit of turning to one side, say your left as your turning a corner will mean your left ear is always exposed to more water than the right and doubling the chances of obtaining surfers ear.
- If you jet ski regularly in cold water - custom made ear plugs are more expensive than generic ear plugs but will be a good investment at preventing water entering your ear canal at all, keeping them warm and dry.
- If your more of a occasional jet skiier using the generic shop bought plugs is do-able, however the additional use of a neoprene headband or hood will help keep your ear plugs in as well as give extra protection to your ears.
- Keep your ear plugs with your jet ski gear, ready to hand.
- Keep your ears toasty warm outside of the water, using a hood up/beanie/woollen hat when out in the cold
When you think of jetskiing you don't straight away imagine ear problems, however you are still on water with a noisy engine with the abilit to come off. If you are flung off the jet ski or are barrel rolling and don't quite make it round to do a full rotation or you are helping out with big surf and are the jet ski support and you come off, the impact of slamming your face into the water is going to hurt a lot! Water isn't as soft as it appears, especially when going at high speed. Along with your face, importantly comes your ears and more often than not ear drums can get damaged from such slams so here are some recommended equipment additions.
Helmets For Jetskiing
Unfortunately their are limited helmets out there that are specfically designed for jetskiing and what you will find is people wearing BMX helmets but what you really need is a helmet designed and built to withstand the impact of water. It is important to find a jet ski helmet that is lightweight as well as durable. If you do not wear jet ski goggles it is worth buying a helmet with an incorporated face shield to protect your eyes and provide ease of vision when going at a fast speed.
Wearing a helmet when jetskiing helps to protect your head from injury. You are on a very fast, small vehicle with a powerful engine. If you were motorcycling would you wear a helmet? As well as protecting your ears from ear drum rupture when hitting the water, a helmet will help dampen the sound of the noisy engine that can reach a loud 115dB. A helmet could be a life saver for any rider and if you are just starting out in the sport as a beginner a helmet will be a worthwhile investment.
The Jobe Hustler helmet is designed for fast paced water sports such as jetskiing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. The interior is made from a soft brushed nylon padding fitted mainly at the sides and top to help cushion your head and provide extra comfort. This is a quick drying helmet with the materials designed for use in water based activities. There is also large venting to the the front, top and back of the helmet and at the ears.
The helmet can be fully adjusted at the rear to tighten the helmet up and with the soft chin strap it makes it a comfortable and fitted fit. There is no facial shield to the helmet but the front does come a little further out providing a small amount of sun protection whilst out on the water.
The Jobe Hustler helmet has detachable ear plates that are plastic pressed studs to the helmet. There is comfortable padding around ear and the nylon straps around the ear pieces help to secure them correctly to your face. This helmet is certified to CE EN 1385 Water Sport Safety Standard.
The Mystic Predator Watersports Helmet is made from a high impact thermo plastic outer shell. This helmet is lightweight and features vents throughout for adequate air circulation. The inside of the helmet incorporates soft tubular webbing and uses stainless steel rivets. It comes in two size options S/M and L/XL. The small extra rim to the front of the helmet helps reduce the amount of water spray running down the face and provide a very small amount of sun protection.
The helmet is adjustable from the back and has an adjustable soft chin strap with fid lock quick release. The ear pads are very comfortable and are made from neoprene. THe nylong straps either side help to tighten the ear pads closer to the ears. This helmet is certified to CE EN 1385 Water Sport Safety Standard.
The Jettribe carbon 7 helmet is quite a beast of a helmet. It aims to provide high tech abilities in a light weight design. The outer shell is made from 65% carbon and 35% kevlar. Similar to the appearance of a motocross helmet but made for water use. This helmet has built in water vents and quick drying mesh interior. The vents mean the helmet continues to stay lightweight even after submersion in water. Your ears are protected very well within a snug comfort interior and light but hardcore shell exterior.
The jettribe carbon 7 helmet also has interchangeable cheek pads to be swapped for drier ones in between jet ski races or rides. The visor has been designed with breakaway carbon rivets so that with impact it will come off.
The Protec Ace Wake Helmet is a solid high density inject moulded ABS hard plastic shell. It comes in four different sizes and this one particularly is in the colour 'hot magma orange'. The interior lining is made from an EVA material and there are 16 open vents for ventillation and drainage, this is one of the largest number of vents I have seen on a watersports helmet. This helmet is certified to CE EN 1385 Water Sport Safety Standard.
Ear Plugs For Jetskiiing
Wearing a good quality helmet will definitely help reduce the chances of head and inner ear trauma occuring within your ear as the helmet will help to take the brunt of it, the problem occurs with your ear canal still being exposed to flushing and the constant noise exposure from the engine.
When it comes to finding the right ear plugs, there are many options out there but you need to find the ones specifically designed with jetskiing in mind.
For the longterm, goof qualiy product without spending to much there are the docs pro plugs. These are a discreet pair of ear plugs as they are clear, they do come with a leash in case they do fall out you can reel them back in. One of the main reasons ear plugs are important is to reduce the slam of water pressure when you hit the water so you need strong ear plugs. These are made from a hard wearing silicone material . They are washable and reuseable and come in the option of eight different sizes to match your ear size. There are also small vents in the ear plugs to keep the same air pressure inside your ear that is outside your ear and when it comes to jetskiing due to moving from in the air to down suddenly in the water (especially when barrel rolling), ventilation in ear plugs is important. These pro plugs also help to keep your ears warm by storing the head's conductive heat and to stop the flushing of water in and out, which will eventually make your inner ear cold.
The Hot Surf 69 silcone putty is a different ball game altogether, with these you mould the putty to your ear before you surf. These are a cheap and cheerful option but do not pose as a long term solution.
Again due to you doing this yourself and you can't see your ear you will need to take time to do this to check it is fully sealed your ear. The box comes with 6 balls of putty so if you mess up the first try you have the option for another go. One of my concerns with these is the simplicity of them that doesn't account for pressure build up from slamming into the water. There are other branded silicone putty ear buds which will work just as well if that is what you are after.
Now when it comes to non custom made ear plugs, I have to say the SurfEars 2.0 are a serious contender. This comes as a whole package for you to try out different sizes that work for you. It comes in a small carry case with a clip and your ear plugs are attached to each other with a lanyard to prevent them getting lost in the sea if they come out. Just attach this to your zip cord or to the neck of your wetsuit and you should never lose them.
You can really tell a lot of thought has gone into the design element as well as the processing and production of these ear plugs. My only query is the slight delicate nature of them. At first go, these really did do the trick, the bud comes in three sizes and as I have small ear canals the smallest size worked best for me.
The best solution to protect your ears while using a helmet is to get custom fit made ear moulds. Although these do need you to have an impression of your ear taken, this means the ear moulds themselves will match your ear correctly. An ear impression will take into account each contour and unique bumps and shapes of your ear.
What you will find is because they match your ear shape correctly they will also be much more comfortable in your ear as well as keeping your ear fully sealed for water. The custom fit also has the ability to stay within your ear better and most custom made ear moulds will come with a lanyard to connect to your wetsuit if they do fall out. The major things to consider with custom made ear plugs is the price and booking yourself in with an audiologist to get an impression taken and over time you will need to have them re made as your ears slowly grow. If you love jet skiing having ear plugs specifically designed for you is the way to go.