Snoring is a sound made during sleep. It is the sound of the throat vibrating as air flows through it.
Air should be able to move easily through your mouth, nose, and throat. Sometimes, during sleep, air cannot move through these areas easily. This poor airflow makes the roof of the mouth vibrate. This is what causes the snoring sound. Smaller airways can lead to louder snoring. Airflow may be obstructed by:
This condition is more common in those over 50 years, especially men. Other factors include:
The main symptom of snoring is noisy breathing during sleep.
Snoring may be associated with a sleep condition called sleep apnea. Snoring with sleep apnea may cause these symptoms:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, especially of the throat, neck, mouth, and nose.
Tests may include a sleep study in a laboratory to determine how much the storing is disrupting your sleep.
In cases of snoring without sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may relieve symptoms. More severe cases may require surgery or devices.
Changes that may help stop snoring include:
Surgery may be done to remove excess tissue in the nose or throat. During surgery, a laser or scalpel will remove the tissue that is blocking the airway. Treatment by laser surgery requires a series of surgeries. These surgeries are usually reserved for severe and disruptive cases of snoring.
Another procedure is to try to stiffen the roof of the mouth.
Devices that can open airways during sleep include:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
Better Sleep Council Canada
Canadian Lung Association
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Snoring and sleep apnea. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/snoring.cfm. Accessed June 20, 2016.
Obstructive sleep apnea. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115600/Obstructive-sleep-apnea-OSA. Updated June 10, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2016.
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Last reviewed June 2016 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.