When is Snoring Serious?
At the Los Angeles Sinus Institute, we see a lot of patients with sleeping difficulties. These tend to range in gravity from occasional snoring to chronic sleep apnea, but the point is always the same: everyone just wants a good night’s sleep. I have spent some time discussing the risks of sleep apnea already in this space, so today I wanted to tackle its less serious but far more common and maddening cousin: snoring.
What is snoring? Its most basic definition is any breathing while asleep that is loud enough to catch the attention of other people. Most people are familiar with the cartoon buzz saw they see on television, but in real-life, snoring can resemble anything from a squeaky whistle to a deafening roar. As you might imagine, the physics behind these sounds varies widely depending upon which structures are actually making the noise: swollen adenoids sound different from nasal polyps, which sound different from acute sinusitis.
The dangers of snoring vary widely as well – for some, it is a mere irritation that will not affect their quality of sleep in any important way. For others, snoring can be a source of frequent sleep disturbances – a pernicious symptom that can easily affect quality of life for many years. And of course the experience of the snorer must be measured against the experience of the “snoree” – that unlucky bed partner forced to tolerate constant irritating noise during the day’s quietest hours.
So is your snoring serious? The best way to determine how it is affecting your sleep and life is to get evaluated at a sleep study center. Armed with some data about your own sleep cycles and the number of times you wake during the night, you can then make an appointment to see a qualified sinus expert. Some causes of snoring may fall outside the purview of your ENT – obesity, for instance, or an injury. But if your snoring is being caused by normal structures such adenoids, polyps, a deviated septum, or the inflammation of sinusitis, it may be time to consider corrective sinus surgery today.