On this page we provide a definition of rhonchi, including its clinical significance. We then compare it to rales, with audio recordings and text. Finally, we summarize the rhonchi training lessons available on this site.

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Rhonchi Definition

Rhonchi are continuous low pitched, rattling lung sounds that often resemble snoring. Obstruction or secretions in larger airways are frequent causes of rhonchi. They can be heard in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, or cystic fibrosis. Rhonchi usually clear after coughing.

Rhonchi vs Rales

Rhonchi can be compared to rales using these audio playback buttons.


Listen for lower pitched, snoring or rattle-like sounds.


Listen for fine crackles, which are discontinuous, popping sounds similar to velcro being pulled apart.

Lung Sounds Reference Guide

Our auscultation guide provides quick access to rhonchi lung sounds. The guide page including a few listening tips and a waveform of the audio recording.
Rhonchi Guide

Rhonchi Lesson

A lesson on rhonchi sounds is included in our free Basics of Lung Sounds course. We suggest taking the full course (about 15-20 minutes), but the lesson can be used without the full course.
Basics of Lung Sounds