Snoring: analysis, measurement, clinical implications and applications

Eur Respir J. 1996 Jan;9(1):146-59. doi: 10.1183/09031936.96.09010146.


Snoring was described in literature even before medicine. Common definitions do not consider acoustic measurements of snoring. In this paper we discuss the main pathophysiological aspects of snoring and the snoring-sleep relationship as the generating mechanisms. Snoring can be analysed and measured by the following methods: 1) Leq-Equivalent Continuous Sound Level, which only quantifies noisiness, annoyance, and damage to the partner's and snorer's hearing; 2) Power Spectrum, with frequency values, formantic structure data and typical shape, which can help to distinguish simple snoring from heavy snoring with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS); 3) Linear Prediction Code (LPC) method, which can define the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the upper airways and which locates sites of obstruction. Simulated snoring analysis with LPC and with simultaneous fluoroscopy permits the definition of CSA and the identification of three snoring patterns: nasal, oral and oronasal. Snoring is an important sign of sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD), of the upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and of the OSAS. Snoring is a symptom of nasal obstruction and is associated with cardiovascular diseases and nocturnal asthma as a trigger or causative factor; however, its acoustic features in these disorders are not well-defined. Home monitoring of snoring is very useful for epidemiology and is mandatory, together with heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation (Sa,O2), to screen SRBD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Nasal Obstruction / complications
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Snoring / complications
  • Snoring / etiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology*