The Basics of Snoring: When To See An Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist


man snoring

Snoring is very common among men and women, and becomes more common as we age. It’s also much more common among those who are overweight.  While snoring has social consequences, there are other conditions that are often associated with snoring, such as sleepapnea, that have health-related issues. 

Snoring Affects Quality of Sleep

The deeper one sleeps, the greater the likelihood of snoring. Being over tired, taking a sleeping pill or medicine with sedating side affects, alcohol consumption near bedtime and other factors may worsen snoring. Interestingly, the snoring doesn’t usually awaken the snorer. While the sleep of the partner may be severely interrupted, the quality of the snorer’s sleep may be poor even if it’s not apparent that it’s interrupted. He or she may find they’re fatigued during the day and may even dose off at inappropriate times.

Why You Snore

Vibrations of the soft palate and other tissues lining the upper throat cause snoring. Blockage to the free passage of air through the nose and mouth is what can set off these vibrations. The obstruction can be caused by many factors. Obstructions in the nose by a deviated septum, allergies, polyps or even a simple cold are common causes. Excess lining tissue in the throat from obesity, a small opening at the back of the mouth due to a long palate or enlarged tonsils are examples of throat causes.

 What You Can Do About Snoring

There are some simple ways to reduce snoring.

  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
  • Avoid medicines with sedative side affects when possible
  • Elevate the head of the bed with 2-3” blocks under each leg or use a wedge under the mattress
  • Reduce excess weight – this goes a long way to reducing snoring and is healthier in other ways as well.
  • Nasal tape strips may help

 When Snoring Is A Deeper Issue

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), as previously mentioned, is frequently associated with snoring. But sleep apnea is not just a social problem. It is a disorder where the level of obstruction is so severe that breathing while asleep may periodically stop.

Sleep apnea may be diagnosed in adults and in some children by having a sleep study. It can be treated with a CPAP machine used at night or various surgical procedures if the person can’t tolerate a CPAP machine.

Other problems that may cause snoring that should be considered more seriously are nasal polyps, which can be treated medically or surgically. Various surgical procedures to reduce the size of the palate or tongue base are sometimes necessary. Children who snore loudly may need a tonsil and/or adenoidectomy.

At Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat Care, our physicians all board-certified ear, nose and throat specialists treat conditions related to snoring. They also treat other issues of the head and neck, including silent reflux, ear infections, nasal and sinus issues and more. Please schedule a visit with one of our ENT specialists today to discuss how we can best help you. We have offices in the Fairfield County, CT, towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk, Ridgefield and Southbury.

Topics: Blog, Ear, Nose & Throat