All simple snoring of any severity.

Simple snoring should not be referred as there is currently no effective evidence based treatment.

Most adults snore intermittently, 24% of men and 14% of women are habitual snorers.

Snoring is predominantly, but not exclusively a weight related condition.

As many as 50% patients referred to snoring clinics do not have significant symptoms.

Marital disharmony frequently masquerades as a snoring problem.

The partner's sleep patterns may be the real problem.

Snoring may be a symptom of other pathology which requires further investigation and treatments.

Related policies and guidelines:

Out of scope

Sleep apnoea – see clinical referral guideline


History and Examination

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Co­morbidity e.g. obesity, hypothyroidism, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension
  • Smoking history
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Medication history
  • Consider psycho­social impact
  • Assess
    • BMI
    • Nasal airway patency
    • Tonsil and tongue base

Red Flags

Symptoms or signs suggestive of oropharyngeal neoplasm e.g.: unilateral tonsil and tongue enlargement.


Referral is not indicated for simple snoring unless there are features that raise concern of more serious pathology.

Occasionally enlarged tonsils can cause snoring, and surgery may help.

Nasal pathology needs to be excluded. Look for:

  • Nasal Polyps
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Deviated Nasal Septum

If allergic rhinitis or nasal polyps are suspected, a topical nasal steroid spray for 3 months should be tried.

Nasal alar collapse may be treated with nasal paper strips.

  • Weight reduction if above recommended BMI
  • To stop smoking (offer to refer the patient to smoking cessation services)
  • Reduce or stop evening alcohol intake
  • Keeping the nose clear (including therapies such as nasal sprays or strips)
  • Partners using ear plugs whilst asleep to minimise sleep disruption
  • Self-training to alter their sleep position to avoid lying on back (e.g. sewing lump into back of pyjamas/nightdress as temporary training method).
  • Obtaining a mandibular advancement device to be worn at night from their dentist. The patient must be advised that this device is not funded by the NHS.


Referral Criteria

Referral is not indicated for simple snoring unless there are features that raise concern of more serious pathology when a referral to ENT could be considered:

Hypersomnolence with no OSA – consider referral to neurology

Referral Instructions

Refer to Neurology

e-Referral Service Selection

  • Specialty: Neurology
  • Clinic Type: Not Otherwise Specified
  • Service: DRSS-Eastern-Neurology-Devon CCG- 15N
Refer to ENT

e-Referral Service Selection

  • Speciality: Ear, Nose & Throat
  • Clinic Type: Not Otherwise Specified
  • Service: DRSS-Eastern-Ear Nose and Throat-Devon CCG- 15N

Referral Forms

DRSS referral form

Supporting Information


Adult Snoring Surgery (in the absence of OSA) commissioning policy

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off by the Eastern Locality on behalf of NEW Devon CCG.

Publication date: March 2019


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