Balloon Sinuplasty, Deviated Septum

Why Does My Nose Whistle Constantly?

December 27, 2019

5 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

All of us have had our nose whistle for one time or another, but has your nose ever whistled so much that you had to ask yourself, “Why does my nose whistle constantly?”

Nose whistling is rarely a serious condition and typically goes away on its own. But if you experience consistent and long-term nose whistling when you inhale, exhale, or both, it might be a sign of an underlying issue.

Let’s explore why your nose might start whistling with frequency and what you can do about it.

Why does my nose whistle? Identifying the causes of a whistling nose.

The most common cause of a whistling nose is simple congestion. For example, you’re much more likely to experience a whistle-y nose when you have a stuffy nose and can’t breathe well through your nostrils.

That’s because the whistling in your nose is caused by constricted airways (just like when we make the opening of our mouths smaller in order to whistle that way). If you notice that your nose has started whistling when you’re suffering from allergies in Houston, when you have a cold, or when you’re fighting a sinus infection, the culprit behind your whistling nose is almost certainly congestion.

There are several anatomical factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll nose will start to whistle. The first of these is a polyp. 

What is a polyp in the nose?

Nasal polyps are small, non-cancerous growths that hang like teardrops or grape clusters from the lining of your nasal passages. Because nasal polyps contribute to obstructing the nasal passages, they make conditions in your nose more ideal for whistling.

Can a deviated septum cause whistling?

The nasal septum is the reason you have two nostrils instead of one; it is the bone and cartilage that divides the nasal passageways. The septum does not always run in a perfectly straight line, which is where we get the term deviated septum.

Around 80% of the North American population has a deviated septum, but some septums are more deviated than others. When combined with congestion, a less-straight-than-average septum can help make conditions in your nose more ideal for whistling.

What is a perforated septum?

A perforated septum is a septum that has a hole, tear, or other defects outside of being crooked. A perforated septum can be caused by anything from an infection, physical trauma, inflammation, piercings, drug use, or even previous nasal surgery. 

As you can guess, a small hole in your nasal septum can cause nasal whistling with or without congestion. That’s why if you have long-term or chronic nasal whistling, your doctor will likely check to see if you have a perforated septum.

Further reading: Understanding the link between a deviated septum andsleep apnea.

How do I stop my nose from whistling?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Why does my nose whistle?” it’s time to address how to stop your schnozz from singing. If the whistling in your nose is caused by congestion due to allergies, a cold, or a sinus infection, then knowing how to stop a whistle-y nose comes down to treating the condition that’s causing it.

In the meantime, you can try to clear your congestion with a saline solution or expand your nostrils (and thus the space through which air can flow) using nasal strips.

If your nasal whistling is caused by an extremely deviated septum or a perforated septum, your ENT may recommend sinus surgery to straighten the septum or close the hole. In some instances, however, invasive sinus surgery may not be necessary if a patient elects to undergo the balloon sinuplasty procedure.

Balloon sinuplasty for a whistling nose

Unlike traditional sinus surgery which requires the cutting of bone and cartilage and often necessitates a lengthy recovery time, balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive, can be performed in-office, and has a short recovery time (typically 24–48 hours).

During the procedure, your ENT will inflate an endoscopic balloon within your sinus cavity. When the balloon inflates, it expands the walls of your sinuses and can help restore proper drainage. In other words, it gives the air more room to flow through your nose and helps clear out whistle-inducing congestion.

Nose won’t stop whistling? Kaplan Sinus Relief can help.

Want more answers to the question “Why does my nose whistle?” Curious about how balloon sinuplasty can help not only with congestion and deviated septum, but also with sinus infections, allergies, and other sinus issues?

Dr. Michael Kaplan of Kaplan Sinus Relief is a pioneer of the balloon sinuplasty procedure. He is well known for performing balloon sinuplasty in Houston as well as for being one of the first physicians in the area to offer procedure-wary patients the option to undergo calming IV sedation for balloon sinuplasty.  

A whistling nose may be funny for a little while, but once it becomes a constant in your life, the joke quickly wears off. The staff at Kaplan Sinus Relief will take your concerns seriously and work with you to find relief from this annoying issue.

To get started, simply contact us online or call us at 713-766-1818 today.

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