When my family was living in Canada, we used to get some pretty frosty winters with temperatures ranging from 0F to 20F. To keep my ears from (literally!) falling off, I used my Bose over ear headphones to keep them somewhat warm! This led me to the question, is cold weather bad for my headphones!?
Yes, cold weather is bad for wireless headphones. Most wireless headphones come with lithium-ion batteries which drain faster during the cold weather. In extreme cold temperatures, it may even shut down the device. However, cold weather does not impact Bluetooth connectivity.
So why does this occur and what can you do to reduce the impact?
What Happens To Headphones In Cold Weather?
Unless you’re in extreme cold weather, the cold itself won’t damage your headphones. The circuitry and components of the headphones will only be an issue well after it’s too cold for you to be outside!
That being said, the cold weather drains the battery life faster. It could also create moisture which could damage your wireless headphones. Let’s dive into these points in a bit more detail.
Lithium-ion batteries are a common feature in electronics. Short summary, they don’t play well in freezing temperatures.
Just as heat speeds up chemical reactions, cold temperatures slow them down. That’s why you might feel your battery life drains faster and becomes sluggish in winter. If it’s cold enough, batteries can just switch off completely as well.
Headphone operating manuals give temperature ranges for specific models. So just check out the manufacturer’s recommended temperature range.
The other thing to note about battery life is don’t charge them when they’re freezing. To put specific numbers, don’t charge lithium ion batteries below 32°F/0°C. I won’t bore you with the science, but this can cause permanent damage to your battery life!
If you have a pair of wireless headphones, it’s likely connected via Bluetooth. So, does the cold impact the bluetooth connectivity?
No, Bluetooth connectivity is not impacted by very low or very high temperatures. Not directly anyway. The draining battery in your headphones or smartphone device will be the only issue you have with connectivity.
Picture this – when you walk into a warm room after your glasses have been outside, what happens? They steam up right?
Well the same thing happens to pretty much everything. With electronics and headphones, it’s doubly bad. Condensation and moisture is not a good recipe for your headphones. Basic science of water and electronics not mixing well!
While the low temperatures won’t directly damage your headphones, moving from cold to warm quickly can potentially cause issues.
So how can you avoid this issue? Keep your headphones turned off when you start moving back inside. Then let your headphones warm up a bit before turning them back on! It might be worthwhile giving your headphones a wipe as well to ensure there’s no droplets of moisture.
Related article – Why Are My Earbuds Zapping Me
What Temperature Is Bad For Headphones?
This will be very dependent on the brand. For example, Apple Airpods should work between the range of -4º to 113º F.
You should check out the operating manual that came with your headphones. It will likely differ between models as well.
If you’ve already turfed out the manual (like we all do), just check online or contact the manufacturer. If you’re playing music through a phone or other device, check the temperature range for that, too.
Snowboarding With Headphones
So what about using your headphones for cold weather sports? Can you make your snowboarding experience even better by listening to some music? Flying down the slopes at high speeds isn’t exactly the same as taking a jog through the park!
Yes, you can but you just need to take a few precautions as you go down the slopes.
Is It Safe To Wear Headphones When Snowboarding?
Similar to cycling with headphones, everyone has their own opinion on this. In our view, we see no reason why you can’t snowboard and have some wireless headphones on.
As fun as listening to music on the slopes can be, it does come with a few risks. Just be aware of potential dangers to ensure nothing bad happens to you or other riders!
Yes, you can become distracted and bump others on the slope or miss a warning call, but here’s a few practical tips to keep you safe while boarding.
- Keep the audio levels to a reasonable level so you can still hear others around you. I would recommend avoiding noise cancelling headphones.
- Over-ear headphones probably won’t fit around your helmet. They will also slide around as you move around, so try to keep to in-ear bud type headphones.
- If you’re using wireless earbuds, try riding with only one ear plugged in. Best of both worlds!
You could also argue that wearing headphones can improve safety. You are likely to be carrying your phone with you while you listen to music. This will give you capability to make calls / contact during an emergency.
If you’re still a beginner snowboarder, I would suggest you ditch the headphones. Both for safety and also the fact that your headphones will likely get wet if you keep stacking!
Trying To Keep Warm?
Ok so what can you do to keep warm? There’s a few things you can do to protect your headphones during winter. Try out some of these ideas as the weather starts to cool down.
- Before heading out into the cold, warm them up before using them and ensure that they’re at full charge before going for your activity.
- Invest in a pair of earmuff headphone covers. It’ll help keep both your ears and headphones warm!
- Wear your headphones over a beanie or your hoodie. This should help keep things tight on your head and warm them up slightly.
- No brainer, but don’t leave your headphones lying around where temperatures get super cold!
So there you have it. Cold weather does have an impact on your wireless headphones. By taking a few precautions, you can protect your batteries from draining and moisture on the internal electronic drivers.
If you’re riding with music on the slopes, use your noggin. One earbud or keep the volume low!