SNORING: A source of noise pollution and sleep apnea predictor

a frustrated woman trying to sleep
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Snoring is a potential source of noise pollution in the bedroom that can degrade the quality of sleep-in bed partners and may also be an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the snorer. Both noise exposure and OSA are known risk factors for adverse health events. Precise characterization of snoring provides a means to identify otherwise healthy habitual snorers at risk for OSA and their bed partners who can have exposure to unhealthy sound levels.


Snoring is highly prevalent in the community and reported to be between 20% and 40% of the population [1–3]. As an auditory environmental exposure, it is a potential source of noise pollution that can disturb the sleep of bed partners. It is a form of upper airway obstruction (UAO) that may also be indicative of the presence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the snorer [45]. Snoring and associated OSA, may have important health consequences for both the bed partner and snorer alike.

Snoring and OSA are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which may be mitigated by therapy [6]. Similarly, noise pollution in excess of 53 dB(A) has been associated with adverse cardiovascular events [78] in exposed populations. Current evidence suggests that accumulated nocturnal exposure to snoring can thus contribute to the development and/or progression of cardiovascular disease in both the snorer [9] and bed partner. Cardiovascular stress is related to increased sympathetic activation, leading to surges in heart rate and sustained elevations in blood pressure during sleep [10]. Nonetheless, objective measures of snoring severity and its association with OSA have not been well characterized in the general community.

The major goal of this paper was to characterize snoring objectively and its association with OSA in a community sample of self-reported habitual snorers. Recognizing that snoring severity can vary widely, we hypothesized that snoring exceeds standards associated with noise pollution and predicts concomitant OSA. To address this hypothesis, we monitored sound levels objectively in a group of healthy habitual snorers without other OSA symptoms, and quantified snoring frequency and intensity in a single night.


One thought on “SNORING: A source of noise pollution and sleep apnea predictor

  1. Wow, this post really resonates with me! I never realized how much of a nuisance snoring can be until I started sharing a bed with my partner. It’s great to have some practical tips for reducing snoring and improving our sleep quality. Thank you for sharing!

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