Snoring Information

The most common factors contributing to increased snoring are:

  1. Sleeping on your back

    In this position gravity pulls the jaw and tongue down and back. This causes the mouth to open and the tongue to drop back into the airway, and leads to narrowing of the air passage. Sixty percent of all snorers will snore only or most often while sleeping on their back.

  2. Difficulty with nasal breathing

    Breathing through the nose is a more efficient way to bring air into the lungs than breathing through the mouth. A deviated septum, a broken nose, inhaled irritants allergies, pregnancy complications, colds, medicines and cold remedies, etc. can lead to obstruction in the nose. This can cause narrowing and increased resistance in the nasal airway which leads to mouth breathing, snoring, and sleep apnea.

  3. Obesity

    In overweight individuals, excess fat deposits in the area of the neck and throat increase the bulk of tissue that surrounds the airway. Under the influence of gravity, this leads to narrowing of the airway when lying down. Obesity is a major predisposing factor to snoring and sleep apnea.

  4. Enlarged soft tissues in the throat area

    Snoring is much more prevalent in people who have a large tongue, long soft palate, large uvula, or large tonsils. When those tissues are enlarged, there can be a decrease in airway size. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the primary cause of snoring in children.

  5. A small lower jaw

    People who have a receding chin related to a small lower jaw are more likely to snore because there is less room in the back of the throat for the soft tissues and tongue. This reduction in space decreases the size of the airway and causes increased snoring.

  6. Certain medications and alcohol consumption

    Some drugs (particularly certain tranquilizers and antihistamines) and alcohol can cause greater relaxation in the soft tissues and muscles in the throat. This can lead to narrowing of the airway during sleep, which increases the chance of snoring and sleep apnea.

  7. Cigarette smoke and other irritants

    These irritants can cause increased nasal congestion and mucous in the throat area, which can lead to increased snoring.

How loud is snoring compared to other noises?

Both the amount of noise and the length of time you are exposed to the noise determine its ability to damage your hearing. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level, the louder the noise. Sounds louder than 80 decibels are considered potentially hazardous. The noise chart below gives an idea of average decibel levels for everyday sounds around you, compared to snoring.

whisper 30 decibels
vacuum cleaner 70 decibels
Loudest recorded snore   87 decibels
chain saw, lawnmower 90 decibels
jet plane takeoff 120 decibels
jackhammer 130 decibels