Winter is here, officially.

We are glued to the weather reports that only snowboarders and skiers revel in.

We are eating comfort foods that include enough carbs to run at least three marathons.

We are living in fear of the end of football season, because we will actually have to engage in conversations with family members.

We can’t find the snow shovel and are willing to mortgage the house to any teenager willing to clear our walkway.

Part and parcel of winter is the expansion of the “indoor life”, and with that, noise pollution moves inside. Remember, any prolonged noise over 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing damage…I hear you saying “define prolonged”. How about all day stuck in the house on a school snow day, with kids, dogs, electronics and no way out.

The kids are indoors, and that means loud music, laughter (❤ ) several rounds of “You’re not the boss of me!”, and whatever loud program on TV, Netflix or Hulu.

If the room is too quiet, and that’s a red flag for any parent, check and see if the kids are using headphones…if they are and you can hear sound coming out of them, make them turn it down because they are listening at an unsafe level.

The indoor life also means more cleaning, so here comes the vacuum cleaner (at over 80 dB ) and the indoor barking dog ( at four feet away, capable of 95 dB), and increased use of appliances like the hand mixer for whipped cream in the hot chocolate (80-90 dB).

We can only imagine how loud a Super Bowl party can get, but chances are the TV volume keeps getting higher to battle with the chatter in the room . By the way, football players are subjected to at least 120dB of noise on the playing field, so we are all in this together!

Okay, I know, I know we sound like the Decibel Downer people. No fun allowed, right? Wrong my winter snowflakes, just use some sound judgement (see what I did there), when the noise is jumping up in level, pop in the ear plugs, you can still hear the general clamor but you’re not experiencing damage to our hearing.

Oh, and the lowering of the din, also lowers stress. Take a break (I’d would say chill but that would be too easy a chuckle), sit by the fire, read a good book like Doctor Zhivago. It will put winter into perspective, fast.