On this page we provide a description of several types of wheezes along with audio recordings. High-pitched wheezing lung sounds are compared to a lower pitch wheezing sound using patient recordings and text in these training lessons.
Wheezes are generated by air flowing through narrowed bronchus. The bronchial walls vibrate, creating wheezing sounds. Wheeze sounds are best transmitted via the airways rather than lung tissue (which absorb higher pitched sounds). Thus wheezes are bet heard (or auscultated) near the central airways.
Wheezes are commonly causes by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. But other conditions can cause wheezing:
- Airways Obstruction by foreign object
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Respiratory synctial virus
- Respiratory infections
- Vocal cord dysfunction
Wheeze sounds have a musical quality. A wheeze might have a low or higher frequency sound. Higher frequency wheezes are similar to squeezing or whistling. A lower frequency wheeze can seem similar to snoring or gurgling. Low frequency wheezes are sometimes called rhonchi. Wheezes can occur during inspiration or expiration. A wheezing cough is another form of a wheezing sound.