Snoring is a common occurrence for many people, but when should you consider seeking medical help for snoring? 

As a sleep specialist, Dr Phua Chu Qin, Consultant from the Department of Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), a member of the SingHealth group, helps to shed light on when you should seek medical help for snoring.

"If your snoring is causing disruptions in your sleep or affecting others, consulting a healthcare professional, could be beneficial to rule out any underlying issues or explore potential solutions. In fact, your snoring may be caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is a common condition that affects close to 1 billion adults worldwide.

Recent data from a Singapore Health Study estimated that 30.5 percent of Singapore’s population has moderate to severe OSA. As obesity is a risk factor for OSA, the prevalence of OSA is likely to rise further in the face of the worsening obesity epidemic," Dr Phua explained.

"It (OSA) happens when the upper airway collapses repeatedly, making your breathing stop and start briefly in sleep. This leads to lack of sleep and poor sleep quality. Early diagnosis and treatment of OSA can ease your symptoms and possibly prevent future heart problems and complications," she added.

If you have the following symptoms, consider seeking help or an evaluation from a doctor.

6 tell-tale symptoms for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

1) Snore frequently and loudly

If you snoring is consistently loud and disruptive, it may be more than just a nuisance. As mentioned above, loud snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which can have serious health implications. This includes increased risk of:

2) Experience pauses in breathing during sleep

If your bed partner, family or bunk mate notices that you sometimes stop breathing during sleep, this could be a red flag for sleep apnea. It is therefore advisable to seek professional advice to determine the severity of the issue and explore possible interventions.

3) Frequent daytime tiredness

Excessive snoring, along with pauses in breathing can lead to fragmented sleep, causing daytime tiredness, drowsiness and brain fog. If you find yourself constantly tired despite adequate sleep (usually 7 - 8 hours for the average adult), it is worth looking into the root cause of your snoring.

4) Have other symptoms

If you have associated symptoms such as morning headaches, poor concentration, irritability, frequent awakening at night, these could be linked to poor sleep quality from OSA.

5) Have a medical history

Individuals with medical history of high blood pressure, heart problems, or obesity can be at higher risk for sleep-related breathing issues. If you fall into any of these categories, seeking advice can be helpful.

6) Disrupt sleep for others

Your snoring might be affecting more than just you. If your partner is disturbed by your snoring, it can be time to consult healthcare professional to explore solutions that can benefit both of you.

Try this simple, self-assessment test to determine if you may have OSA!

Another way to decide if you should see a doctor for snoring is to try this simple questionnaire called STOP-BANG questionnaire, which is a widely used screening tool for OSA. Try answering the following questions:

  • Do you snore loudly? (Louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors) 

  • Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?

  • Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep?

  • Do you have (or are you being treated for) high blood pressure?

  • Is your BMI >35 kg/m²?

  • Are you 50 years old or older?

  • Is your neck circumference more than 40cm?

  • Are you of male gender?

If your answer is "yes" to at least 3 questions, there is an intermediate risk that you might have moderate-severe OSA. 

If you say "yes" to at least 5 questions, you have a high risk of moderate to severe OSA

​In these 2 scenarios, it is advisable to arrange a consult with a healthcare professional.

Watch this video to learn about treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)!


Who should you consult for snoring?

You can consider seeing an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist or Respiratory physician for your snoring. These specialists can help check your symptoms, do a physical examination and possibly arrange a sleep study for you. Getting a diagnosis and starting treatment can potentially improve your sleep quality and health with your long term health.

The Department of Otolaryngology (Ear Nose and Throat), Head and Neck Surgery at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) provides a wide range of specialist services focusing on a wide range of ear, nose, throat, sleep apnea and head and neck cancer conditions.

The Sleep Medicine Unit of SKH is a multidisciplinary sleep team helmed by ENT Surgeons, Respiratory physicians, orthodontist, psychiatrist, psychologist and sleep technologist dedicated and specialising in diagnosis and management of wide range of sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, narcolepsy, parasomnias and other sleep related movement disorders.

To make an appointment with SKH, call 6930 6000 or email

Ref: H24

More articles on snoring you may be interested in:

8 Easy Exercises to Stop Snoring

8 Tips to Avoid Snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA): How to Manage

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA): How to Treat