Noisy Breathing Q & A
Narrow or blocked airways can cause noisy breathing. The board-certified ENT specialists at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, treat noisy breathing in patients ranging from infants to older adults at five convenient locations in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Torrance, California. If you or a loved one has noisy breathing, call the office or book an appointment online today.
What is noisy breathing?
Noisy breathing involves a partial blockage or narrowing of the airways that can result in a range of sounds. There are various types of noisy breathing, including:
Stertor is noisy breathing that originates in the back of the throat. It’s typically low-pitched and makes a sound similar to snoring.
Stridor is a high-pitched, whistling noise that results from a blockage in or just below the voice box. You may hear this noise during inhalation, exhalation, or both, depending on the level of the obstruction.
Wheezing is a high-pitched sound that occurs on exhalation. This noise may be due to a narrowing, spasm, or obstruction of the airways.
What causes noisy breathing?
Noisy breathing is especially common in children because they have smaller airways and even a small blockage can affect airflow. Adults can also develop noisy breathing for various reasons. The expert team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat treats many causes of noisy breathing in infants, children, and adults, including:
- Chronic nasal congestion from viral or bacterial infections
- Congenital conditions that cause narrow airways, including subglottic stenosis
- Nasal obstructions, including foreign objects
- Collapsed tissues in the airways
- Narrow nasal openings
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Broken nose
- Abnormal growths in the airway
Spasms in the airways due to underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, can also cause noisy breathing.
How is noisy breathing diagnosed?
First, the team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam. Depending on what they find, your ENT may recommend tests, such as:
- Sleep studies
- Swallowing studies
These tests help them determine the exact cause of noisy breathing so they can create a personalized treatment plan.
How is noisy breathing treated?
There are a wide variety of treatment options for noisy breathing. The team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat tailors treatment to your specific needs, including the underlying cause of the symptoms and the age of the patient.
Treatment for noisy breathing may begin with monitoring the condition and supportive care. You may need to take medications to relieve symptoms or manage an underlying condition, like an infection. If your condition is severe, the team may recommend surgery.
For comprehensive evaluation and treatment of noisy breathing in infants, children, and adults, call SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, or book an appointment online today.