A new study published in Respiratory Research has described a possible link between certain childhood risk factors and adult snoring. The risk factors include exposure to animals, early respiratory or ear infections, and growing up in a large family.

Researchers interviewed over 16,000 subjects about their childhood and their adult snoring habits. “A total of 15,556 subjects answered the questions on snoring. Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights a week, was reported by 18%,” says Karl A Franklin from the University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden.

The researchers found that being hospitalized for a respiratory infection before the age of 2 years, suffering from recurrent ear infections as a child, growing up in a large family, and being exposed to a dog at home as a newborn were all independently related to snoring in later life.

“These factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life, causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring,” write the authors.