Skip to main content Accesibility Help

A simple, quick, validated method of recording the nasal cycle in humans using a subjective scale

  • M R Williams (a1) and R Eccles (a2)

Studies on the nasal cycle can be limited by time-consuming rhinomanometric measurements. However, quantifiable subjective assessment of nasal airflow has been limited by poor correlation with rhinomanometric data, even when investigating patients with a deviated nasal septum.


Thirty healthy participants attended two study days for rhinomanometric and subjective assessment of nasal airflow (using the subjective ordinal scale). A nasal partitioning ratio was calculated for both measures.


Objective and subjective nasal partitioning ratios were compared; strong correlations were seen, with a correlation coefficient of 0.64 (p < 0.00001) on day 1 and 0.68 (p < 0.00001) on day 2.


The use of the subjective ordinal scale and nasal partitioning ratio provides a sensitive tool for assessing relative nasal airflow, with results that correlate strongly with rhinomanometric data. This finding strongly suggests that this combination could be used for future subjective assessment of the nasal cycle.

Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Mr Mark Robert Williams, Dept. of ENT, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Rd, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW, UK E-mail:
Hide All

Mr M R Williams takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

A summary of this work was presented orally at the 4th Congress of European ORL-HNS, 11 October 2017, Barcelona, Spain.

Hide All
1Kayser, R. Exact measurement of the air conductance in the nose [in German]. Archiv fur Laryngol Rhinol 1895;3:101–20
2Davis, SS, Eccles, R. Nasal congestion: mechanisms, measurement and medications. Core information for the clinician. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci 2004;29:659–66
3Eccles, R. A guide to practical aspects of measurement of human nasal airflow by rhinomanometry. Rhinology 2011;49:210
4Roithmann, R, Cole, P, Chapnik, J, Shpirer, I, Hoffstein, V, Zamel, N. Acoustic rhinometry in the evaluation of nasal obstruction. Laryngoscope 1995;105:275–81
5Hanif, J, Eccles, R, Jawad, S. The use of a portable spirometer for studies on the nasal cycle. Am J Rhinol 2001;15:303–6
6Price, A, Eccles, R. Is there any relationship between right and left hand dominance and right and left nasal airflow dominance? J Laryngol Otol 2017;131:846–52
7Funk, E, Clarke, J. The nasal cycle. Observations over prolonged periods of time. Research Bulletin of the Himalayan International Institute 1980; Winter:13
8Eccles, R. Nasal airflow in health and disease. Acta Otolaryngol 2000;120:580–95
9Sen, I, Dutta, M, Haldar, D, Sinha, R. Estimation of partitioning of airflow in septal surgery: a prospective study with reference to the NOSE scale. Ear Nose Throat J 2017;96:E612
10Boyce, JM, Eccles, R. Assessment of subjective scales for selection of patients for nasal septal surgery. Clin Otolaryngol 2006;31:297302
11Stoksted, P. The physiologic cycle of the nose under normal and pathologic conditions. Acta Otolaryngol 1952;42:175–9
12Fisher, EW, Palmer, CR, Lund, VJ. Monitoring fluctuations in nasal patency in children: acoustic rhinometry versus rhinohygrometry. J Laryngol Otol 1995;109:503–8
13Gungor, A, Moinuddin, R, Nelson, RH, Corey, JP. Detection of the nasal cycle with acoustic rhinometry: techniques and applications. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1999;120:238–47
14Hanif, J, Eccles, R, Jawad, S. The use of a portable spirometer for studies on the nasal cycle. Am J Rhinol 2001;15:303–6
15Roblin, DG, Eccles, R. Normal range for nasal partitioning of airflow determined by nasal spirometry in 100 healthy subjects. Am J Rhinol 2003;17:179–83
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed