What is snoring?
Snoring is a noise produced by structures within a person’s upper airway that vibrate while they are sleeping. In some people it is only a soft noise or only occurs in certain positions. In others, it is a very loud noise that can disrupts the sleep quality of both the snorer and those around them. Snoring can sometimes be an indicator of obstructive sleep apnoea.
What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person has repeated pauses in their breathing during sleep. They may have associated symptoms of daytime fatigue, morning headaches and the need to nap during the day. Sleep apnoea can cause a range of health problems and always requires treatment in some form.
How can an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist help with my snoring?
The first step in assessing a patient who snores is taking a careful history and performing a comprehensive examination of the upper airway. Direct visualisation of any obstruction within the nose, mouth or throat may help to identify what is causing the snoring. All the different treatment options can then be discussed.
What types of treatments are available for snoring?
In adults, the aim of treatment is to provide a more open, stable airway that does not collapse and vibrate at night during sleep. Patients with hay fever, nasal polyps, large adenoids, large tonsils, a large tongue base or a very small jaw can all benefit from treatment to address these problems which can help with their snoring. Occasionally snoring is a sign of something more sinister such as a growth in the airway that needs to be removed.
Treatments can be either through medicines (allergy treatment, steroid sprays) or through surgery. In adults two operations that are often recommended are a septoplasty and turbinoplasty to address a narrow nasal passage or a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty with tonsillectomy to address a narrow oropharynx (back of the mouth).
In order to evaluate what the best treatment is for your snoring, a comprehensive assessment is necessary.