Adult snorers – It starts in childhood

September 5, 2008

If you have ever dug your partner in the ribs, or tried every brand of ear plugs on the market, it may help to know that really they can’t prevent it. Actually, it may not help at all, but a new study has shown that adult snoring may be rooted in early snorers .

This is based on a study of more than 15,000 adults ages 25 to 54 in Northern Europe, specifically in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Estonia. They were asked questions about their early life environment, childhood history and adult medical problems. The result was that they concluded that there are several factors in early childhood that are associated with adult snoring.

So what are the risk factors so you can identify if your child is going to disturb someone’s sleep in later life? First clue was that adult snorers were more likely to have been hospitalized for a respiratory infection before they were two, had recurrent ear infections such as glue ear or inflammation or have large tonsils that can compromise the upper airways. On the environment front, the child was more likely to have grown up in a large family, or to have been brought up as a baby in a household with a dog.

Karl Franklin, M.D., Ph.D., who carried out the research, speculated that these factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life, causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring.

Typically the habitual snorers in the study (defined as more than 3 times a week) were more likely to be male, overweight and had a higher prevalence of asthma and chronic bronchitis and were smokers. You may not be able to do anything about their childhood, but those other factors also contribute so tackling the weight, smoking and asthma certainly couldn’t hurt and might help to reduce the frequency and volume. Sadly there is no real cure for snoring, but a good website for general information on what causes it, and what can help, can be found at


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