Sounds of Winter - Protect Your Hearing During the Holiday

October 18, 2023
3 mins
Michael Piskosz
Dr. Fabrice Bardy
Winter can bring about various sounds that, if experienced at high volumes or over extended periods, can potentially be harmful to your hearing health.


Enjoy the holiday season while reducing your exposure to harmful noise that can negatively affect your hearing health and tinnitus.

Winter is a festive time of year that includes many family-oriented holidays, ceremonies and indoor events. Winter can bring about various sounds that, if experienced at high volumes or over extended periods, can potentially be harmful to your hearing health. Although these chilly months don’t necessarily call for long active days outside, there are still many outdoor sounds to be aware of that can be potentially dangerous to your hearing health and tinnitus. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds, whether in winter or any other season, can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), more bothersome tinnitus or other hearing-related problems.

Noisy winter sounds to be aware of:

  1. Snow Blowers: Snow blowers and snow throwers can produce loud noise levels, often exceeding 85 decibels (dB). Operating these machines without hearing protection can put you at risk for NIHL if you're exposed for extended periods.
  2. Snowmobiles: Snowmobile engines can be quite loud, and when traveling at high speeds, the noise levels can easily exceed safe thresholds. Wearing ear protection when riding a snowmobile is advisable.
  3. Ice Drills: Ice fishing enthusiasts often use power ice drills to make holes in the ice. These drills can produce high-intensity, short-duration noise that may be harmful if you're not wearing hearing protection.
  4. Winter Sports: Snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling can be enjoyable winter activities, but they can also expose you to wind noise, which can be damaging to your ears, especially at high speeds. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs designed for winter sports can help reduce the risk.
  5. Ice Skating Rinks: Indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks can be noisy, especially when crowded. The combination of people talking, music, and the scraping of blades on the ice can create a loud environment.
  6. Winter Festivals and Fireworks: Many winter festivals feature fireworks displays. Fireworks are incredibly loud and can reach noise levels well above 120 dB, which can cause immediate hearing damage. Always maintain a safe distance and wear hearing protection when attending such events.

To protect your hearing health during the winter months, consider the following precautions:

  1. Use Hearing Protection: Wear earplugs or earmuffs when exposed to loud winter sounds, especially when operating machinery or participating in noisy winter activities.
  2. Limit Exposure: Try to limit your exposure to loud winter sounds by taking breaks and avoiding prolonged exposure.
  3. Maintain Safe Distances: Stay at a safe distance from sources of loud noise, such as fireworks displays.
  4. Turn Down the Volume: If you listen to music or podcasts while engaging in winter activities, keep the volume at a reasonable level to avoid adding to the noise exposure.
  5. Get Regular Hearing Checkups: Consider regular hearing checkups using the MindEar app or with an audiologist to monitor your hearing health and detect any early signs of hearing loss.

Remember that hearing damage is cumulative, and protecting your ears from loud sounds in winter and throughout the year is essential for maintaining good hearing health. 

In addition, for some, the holiday season can be very stressful. Several factors can contribute to the stress associated with the winter holidays, which can trigger tinnitus.

Sources of stress during the holidays:

  1. Travel Stress: Increased travel can create travel stress for many individuals.
  2. Work Deadlines: End of the year work deadlines can create additional stress and anxiety for both employees and employers. 
  3. Family Dynamics: Dealing with family dynamics and potentially difficult conversations.
  4. Financial Pressure: The costs associated with holiday gifts, decorations and travel can add up quickly.
  5. Time Constraints: Trying to juggle the flurry of activities along with the extra demands the holidays can bring can be overwhelming.

It’s important to find ways to destress from all the activity of the winter holidays. This can have positive effects on your overall physical, emotional and mental well-being. Destressing during the winter holidays allows you to make the most of this special time of year, fostering a sense of peace, gratitude and happiness.

How MindEar can help you in your tinnitus journey

MindEar offers a range of scientifically-backed solutions that can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms effectively. In the MindEar app you will find a soundscape library offering a variety of adjustable soundscapes to help you find the sound sound therapy that works best for you. You can also talk to a tinnitus expert to help determine if a sound masker is right for you. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques are also accessible to provide you with the tools to take control of your condition so that you can live a life without noticing it. MindEar is here to guide you on that journey.

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