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Ear protection as a treatment for disruptive snoring: do ear plugs really work?

  • S Robertson (a1), S Loughran (a2) and K MacKenzie (a1)


Background: In the absence of surgical treatments with demonstrable long-term efficacy, conservative treatments for snoring remain appropriate. Only limited evidence evaluating the use of ear protection by partners has been published.

Methods: Eligible couples were invited to participate in a two-month trial, with each partner using custom-moulded ear plugs. Five questionnaires were completed by patients and their partners, at baseline and after two months: the snoring outcomes survey (SOS) or the spouse/bed partners survey (SBPS), the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS), the general health questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), the Nottingham health profile (NHP) and the Golombok–Rust inventory of marital status (GRIMS).

Results: After two months, there was a significant improvement in the SOS score for patients (p = 0.005), the SBPS score for partners (p = 0.001) and the ESS for partners (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: For selected couples, ear plugs represent an effective short-term treatment for some of the social effects of disruptive snoring, as determined by the SOS, SBPS and ESS questionnaires.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Stuart Robertson, Specialist Registrar, Department of ENT, (Level 5), Gartnavel General Hospital, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 OYN, Scotland, UK. Fax:  + 44 (0)141 2111659 E-mail:



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