FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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  • General
    • What's the difference between "swimmer's ear" and "surfer's ear"?
      • Swimmer's Ear is a common condition caused by bacteria from the water, causing an infection in the ear. The simplest way to prevent Swimmer's Ear is to simply rinse out the ear canal with clean water after swimming or surfing or whatever water activity you participate in.   The common use of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can actualy cause more damage - search around the internet and you can get more information on how to prevent, and/or how to treat an infection if you do manage to get this type of issue.

        Surfer's Ear is a drastic contrast to Swimmer's Ear, and is a condition where the ear canal is narrowed by the growth of bone due to contact with water and/or air that cause cool temperatures in the ear canal. This is a much more severe issue, and not easily treatable - prevention is the better approach. Please see our page on Surfer's Ear for more detailed information regarding this issue.

  • Wet Plugz™ - Custom Earplugs
    • Can I buy custom Wet Plugz™ in stores?
      • No, our custom Wet Plugz™ can only be purchased through our growing network of Preferred Providers, or through our online shop on our website.

    • Why would I need "custom" earplugs, are ears really that different among people?
      • It's said that ears are as individual and distinct as fingerprints, and no two ear canals are exactly the same shape or size.

    • How long will it take to get my finished custom earplugs?
      • Your finished custom earplugs will be shipped out from us approximately 15 business days after we receive your ear impressions.

        We know this is a lengthy process, so we provide automated progress notices along the way, so you're not left in the dark the entire time. To see the current notifications points we have in place, please see the progress notifications page.

    • Where do I go to get ear impressions made?
      • An audiologist or ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist can make these for you. To locate one near you, check our growing Preferred Provider listing. If we don't have one near you, you can also check out the search page, which uses the American Academy of Audiology listing.

        You can also check in the phone book, internet search, or even at your local mega-store pharmacy (like CostCo, WalMart, etc...).

        There are also some do-it-yourself options (check out the information in Step 1 on our How to Order page.

    • What is it exactly that I'm asking the audiologist for?
      • Ask them for a "set of full ear impressions". You can also provide the audiologist with the following information:

        Instructions for your Audiologist: Impressions should be semi-deep to include the second bend of the ear & the entire concha, helix & tragal notch (please pay particular attention to filling the upper helix/crus portion of the impression).  Because Wet Plugz™ are tight-fitting we do recommend that the material is also pushed gently into the ear to encourage a good snug fit.   We also recommend using a bite block, to ensure the impressions will result in earplugs that remain snug during talking.   Impression material should be two-part silicone.   Please provide the client with the impressions in a box suitable for mailing back to the Wet Plugz™ manufacturer (Surf Munkey LLC).

    • What does it cost for a set of impressions from an audiologist?
      • The cost should be right around $50 (USD) when done by a professional. If they're charging you much more than that, you might want to call around.

    • What if the audiologist wants me to order earplugs through them?
      • Even though you've only asked for ear impressions, some audiologists may try to sell you more than just the ear impressions (that's part of their business), but be aware, unless they're part of the growing group of folks who are selling actual Wet Plugz earplugs, then the custom earplugs they can provide you do not allow you to hear anywhere near what ours do (read the verbiage on our Home page - we've tried those other earplugs.

        If you're working with a healthcare provider who doesn't yet offer Wet Plugz, let them know about us, so you can order through them - we'd be happy to work with them. Just have them contact us, or let us know who they are and we'll contact them.

    • Who actually makes Wet Plugz™ custom earplugs?
      • Prior to the end of 2015, we produced the custom earplugs right here in San Diego, California. Starting in October of 2015, we teamed up with a world-class leader in producing earplugs, which has allowed us to expand production, and the options available, of our Wet Plugz custom surf and watersports earplugs.

    • What are Wet Plugz™ custom earplugs made out of?
      • Our custom earplugs are made out of 100% American made silicone. Yes, they float.

    • Do the Wet Plugz™ custom earplugs float?
      • Yes. The silicone we use has small microspheres which provide earplugs that float.

    • Why would I want or need a leash for my plugs?
      • Your custom earplugs should fit snug in your ears, but it is possible to have one come out.   This is especially true if you're moving your jaw in a manner that exceeds the range of motion you used when making your impressions, or moving it in a direction that causes your earplug to loosen.   If you happen to get pummeled by a wave at that moment, you might find your plug missing from your ear, and due to the expense of these earplugs, we always recommend adding a leash to the custom earplugs.   Even though the plugs float, trying to find a tiny floating object amid crashing waves can be a bit of a challenge.

    • If a leash is recommended so highly, why don't you simply include one with the plugs automatically?
      • That's a fair question. The fact is, there are a number of customers who don't use the earplugs in aggressive environments, and where the loss of a plug is highly unlikely. Even if one popped out, it'd be easy to find, because they're not operating amongst crashing waves. Other customers simply don't like leashes...on anything.

        The process to put together and attach a leash is involved, and the special adhesive is pricey, so to keep the costs down as much as possible on our product, we don't include a leash unless the customer wants one included, and then we charge a nominal amount to help cover some of the expense.

    • If I order my earplugs without a leash, can I just add a leash later?
      • Physically you might be able to, however the real answer is "No" and here's why.

        First, this will void your one year warrant on the earplugs, as this will very likely damage the silicone and cause it to crack and eventually tear apart.

        Second, attaching your leash to the larger silicone area, means the leash will be "visible" to the sound hole, so you will likely get a lot more wind noise.

    • Can I use Wet Plugz™ (custom or universal) if I have ventilation tubes in my ears, or a ruptured eardrum?
      • You should check with your doctor, but we do not recommend using these, or any other earplugs, for any condition that requires complete avoidance of contact with water. &nbps; You should probably just stay out of the water, and/or keep your head above the water at all times, until the condition no longer exists. With regard to our earplugs, while the combination of our tiny sound hole and the pressure that normally exists in the ear canal do a good job at keeping water from passing in through the sound hole and into the ear canal, you may find water or moisture in the ear canal after a surf session or your watersport of choice. For the purposes of fighting exostosis, a little water or moisture is okay, what we don't want is cold water and/or air flushing through the canal.

    • Since Wet Plugz™ have a hole, how can they keep water out of the ear?
      • The combination of our tiny sound hole, plus the surface tension of water, plus the pressure that normally exists in the ear canal, all do a good job at keeping water from passing into the ear in most cases. However, depending on how aggressive your environment is that you're using them in, you may find water or moisture in the ear canal, such as after a surf session.

        Small amounts of water such as this are not the issue for the development of exostosis, as the inside of your ear canal is still kept protected with the earplugs from lots of flushing of cold water and/or cold air blowing in.

        You should not use our earplugs if you have any condition where you need prevent any water contact in the ear (see the prior FAQ entry), and in fact you should likely stay out of the water completely.

    • Why are custom earplugs so expensive?
      • Each plug has to be individually hand produced, from an ear impression of your ear, and the process of making a custom plug is actually quite involved.

    • How long will a pair of custom earplugs last?
      • Of course it depends on your use and abuse of the earplugs, but generally, if you take care of them, your custom earplugs should last for 3 to 5 years. Things like leaving them sitting out in the sun (or worse, your car dashboard) and not cleaning them regularly after use, will cause them to break down significantly quicker.   Please see the next FAQ item on how to clean and care for your earplugs.

        Another note on the lifespan of your custom earplugs...your ears can change shape slightly over time. It's possible you may find your earplugs are still in good shape, but no longer seem to fit the way they did in the beginning. Especially if you're younger, your ears may change more rapidly.

    • How should I clean my earplugs?
      • Custom molded earplugs that are regularly cleaned last longer than those that aren’t. Rinsing earplugs under warm water is often sufficient for cleaning. If desired, a mild soap solution may be used. Products that have detergents or solvents as bases should not be used to clean custom molded earplugs since they may damage the earplug over repeated use.

    • How long do you hang on to my ear impressions?
      • The lab will store your ear impressions for up to 6 months to support additional orders.   After 6 months you will need to get new impressions made to ensure proper fitting earplugs.

    • Can I order a spare pair of Wet Plugz™ at a later date without sending new impressions?
      • Yes. As long as we still have your ear impressions (see the prior FAQ item regarding how long we keep them on file), then you can re-order another pair.

  • Purchases/Shipping
    • Do I need a PayPal account to make a purchase online?
      • No, not at all. Sometimes folks get a little confused, as all our credit card processing is done through PayPal, and the checkout pages are very PayPal-oriented, but simply click the "Don't have a PayPal account" link, and you can pay with your credit card just like you'd expect. We've provided an image below, since the link you want to click can be hard to find.

        Paypal checkout page

    • What is your return policy on custom Wet Plugz™?
    • Do you ship internationally?
      • No, not on our custom earplugs.   The reason for this is due to the shipping costs involved with both the customer having to send us ear impressions, and us shipping out the custom plugs.   If you are outside the U.S. and simply must have a set of these custom plugs, contact us and we'll try to work with you individually to see what we can do.

Last updated:  September 2015