Nighttime can be the fright time if you’re in bed with a growling partner, but can loud snoring really damage someone’s hearing? A Specsavers survey wakes up the debate.

Published on 09 June 2023


In addition to the annoyance, health toll, and relationship stress that sleeping with snoring partners inevitably brings, a recent UK survey by the retail chain, Specsavers, observed that 48% of respondents believe that their hearing may have been damaged by this nocturnal nuisance.

As a result, a fifth (22%) answered that they are going to wear earplugs in the future or get a hearing test (21%).

And plugging the ears is precisely what the chain’s chief audiologist, Gordon Harrison, suggests as a good solution to the problem. “If you are struggling to get a peaceful night sleep, there are some easy solutions. Earplugs are a great way to block out any noise that may be keeping you up, and they should feel comfortable in your ears, no matter how you sleep,” says Harrison.

But Specsavers does not provide evidence of just how much ear plugs can block out of the 60 dB rattle a severe snorer generates.

The US organisation Sleep Foundation claims on its website that plugs from some manufacturers can reduce noise by around 27 percent. That assertion is at the optimistic end of the scale, given that the Safety Research Corporation of America concurs with other international estimates that “properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB”, while a 2021 study of hearing protection in China suggested zero effectiveness of earplugs in preventing noise-induced hearing loss in an auto parts factory, which most would consider a far more dangerous environment than a double bed.


A survey of nighttime torture – and watch out in Sheffield!


The Specsavers survey, however, is not suggesting that the serial small-hours snorter can really cause a partner to suffer hearing loss. It just records that a lot of people think these cuddly upper-airway snorters may have caused some lasting auditory distress. There is no proof of this.

The stats released by the optics and hearing care retailer nevertheless add detail to our perception of the nocturnal horrors of snoring:

• 87 percent of respondents admit that their partner’s snoring stops them from enjoying a well-earned rest at night, leaving them feeling annoyed (46 percent), frustrated (45 percent), and even stressed out (28 percent).

• It’s a widespread problem, with 91 percent answering that they or their partner regularly snores, with most saying their noisy partner wakes them at least twice a night. As a result, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the sleepless Brits polled said their partner’s snoring leaves them unable to concentrate at work the following day.

• Nearly one in 10 people have even considered splitting-up due to the night-time disturbance.

• Mean sheets! To combat snoring, 49% admit to elbowing their partner, 44% rolling them over, and 42% to giving them a gentle kick to make them stop. Referee!!

gpointstudio – iStock      One in 10 people have considered splitting-up a relationship because their of their partner’s snoring.

“This research shows the significant impact that being exposed to snoring can have on your sleep and your general health and wellbeing,” says Harrison. Gordon, you’re not wrong there!

And listen to this – if no one is snoring next to you: geographically, the survey break-down reveals that you’ll find the worst offenders in Sheffield, with 48 per cent of residents saying both they and their partners snore. Steel City is followed closely by the not-so-slumberous intellectuals of Cambridge (41%).

Wake up darling!

Source: Specsavers


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