Reported snoring – does validity differ by age?
Snoring is a major sign of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Despite the frequent number of studies based on subjective reports of snoring, self‐reported snoring has hardly been validated at all. In some previous epidemiological studies, a significant association between snoring and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality was found only below the age of 50–60 y. This study was performed to investigate whether this is due to a decrease in the validity of reported snoring with increasing age. In a population‐based study, 2668 men aged 40–79 y answered a questionnaire including questions on snoring. Those who reported loud and disturbing snoring often or very often were regarded as habitual snorers. Without taking account of reported snoring, an age‐stratified sample of these men was selected and their snoring was measured using a microphone for 1 night. Significant snoring was defined as recorded snoring sounds for ≥ 10% of the night. The participants were divided into younger (age 40–59, mean ± SD: 51.8 ± 4.6 y, n=132) and older (age 60–79, 67.7 ± 5.4 y, n=99) age groups. When analysing the validity of reported snoring, no significant differences were found between the younger and older age groups in terms of specificity [younger: 82% (95% CI 74–90%), older: 88% (81–95%)] or sensitivity [younger: 40% (26–54%), older: 35% (17–53%)]. These data indicate that, in men aged 40–79 y, the validity of reported snoring is similar in different age groups. The lack of an association between reported snoring and cardiovascular disease at higher ages can, therefore, not be explained by a decrease in the validity of reported snoring.
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