4pagination-right pagination-right Shopping bag 4pagination-right pagination-right small medium large cable vouge the-times2 forbes new-york

Malmö, Sweden. Home to the best earplugs for swimming.

Words: Johanna Ekvall
Photography: Frederik Jönsson

Happy Ears corporate offices are located in Malmö, which sits at the south western tip of the country, encompassed by the Öresund sea. The Öresund, which separates Sweden from Copenhagen, DK and the European mainland, is where the gulf of Mexico’s warm waters meet the cold waters of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic sea. These opposing forces invite swimmers into the sea year round. Local swimmers, and winter dippers, know if the winds are pushing from the north the waters will be cold, but if the winds keep on from the west the waters remain “warm”. This unique environment along with the geography of the once gritty industrial city has made Malmö a haven for outdoor swimmers. For Happy Ears, it’s proven to be the perfect breeding ground for development of the best earplug for swimming.

Happy Ears Ocean Plastics are a tribute to our founder (Karl Berglund), our customers and our future. Founded in 2010, Happy Ears was born from Karl’s loss of hearing (in one ear) after a surfing accident in Bali and a subsequent ear infection – true story. Fortunately his hearing returned, but for one year Karl was forced to wear a bright orange earplug in one ear and a blue one in the other. Karl grew to hate these earplugs and vowed to create something better. The path was long, but Happy Ears was founded and the team were able to create what avid swimmers today refer to as the most innovative yet simple earplug for swimming – An earplug that is now fittingly made of ocean plastics. 
Cold sunny winter days are rare in Malmö. When they do appear, jumping into the single digit celsius degree water is a celebration of life in Sweden. For earplug geeks like us, it’s been the perfect opportunity to put Happy Ears to the test to prevent swimmer’s ear. We’re pleased to say the earplugs have passed the test many times over. We do prefer our daily summer swims…early in the morning when the sea is calmest or under the midnight sun and the warm refreshing waters of June and July. On these days, Karl is known to take off with Happy Ears in ear, comfortably under his swim cap (the earplug has a short 1cm stem), for a few kilometers along the shallow coastline of the Öresund. Perhaps our founder and long distance swimmer is biased, but he continues to say the earplugs are just “excellent” for swimming. In between these swims, and in between the years, our earplugs have been left in the back of our swim shorts pocket or at the bottom of Karl’s swim bag. One place they’ve never landed is the bottom of the sea. To our amazement, when used without a cap, the earplugs have fallen out just a couple times over many years of use. When its happened, the earplugs floated and were easily retrieved. Keep in mind we’ve had them in ear when jumping into the rough seas from from one, three and/or five meters. Bottom line – Happy Ears unique oval shape (made to replicate the inner ear canal) and three sizes ensure a snug water tight fit. If Happy Ears fit your ears they do work to prevent swimmer’s ear.
Given that we’re surrounded by the sea, the Happy Ears team doesn’t spend much time in the pool, but we know our customers do. If you are a pool swimmer, know that Happy Ears hold up to chlorine better than any porous silicone plug. The Independent UK voted Happy Ears its favorite earplugs for the pool saying… “These were our favourites for the pool, with their oval-shaped heads helping them sit nicely in the ear canal without letting in any water. They also reduce noise, without muffling the voices of those closest to you so you’ll still be able to hear instructions from the lifeguard”.
It’s through this personal experience that our founders and creators know and understand the need for an excellent earplug for swimming. Swimmer’s ear is not something that only happens to those with ear problems. It can happen to anyone. Every swimmer needs to protect their ears when swimming. You need an earplug that offers a unique water tight fit, one that is durable with no extra/replacement parts and holds up to sun, salt water and or chlorine, one that fits seamlessly under a swim cap and one that offers the most even attenuation of any non-custom earplug allowing you to hear your surroundings while in use – Extremely unique and valuable to swimmers.
This is Happy Ears – The “Best Earplugs for Swimming” – Independent UK. 


Originally published in Independent UK June 5, 2023