Asthma UK community forum

Chest noises/lack thereof

Am sure this has been discussed before without much resolution but here goes:

What is the deal with chest noises and WHY are they so inconsistent?! Couple of things:

a) I used to hardly ever wheeze. Now I wheeze sometimes, but there seems to be NO rhyme or reason (last weekend: wheezing on Sat, none on Sunday but was 'quiet' in places, symptoms pretty much the same. OOH dr hugely confused. Hospital saying it was asthma exacerbation but also talking about wheezing in confusing way.)

b) Last night with little green men: about same level as last weekend? Maybe bit better. No wheeze, amboman confused. However, he had to try quite hard to hear something - it obvs wasn't totally silent but he kept moving it around to see if he could hear better somewhere else and was getting me to do various things with my breathing to see if that increased the sound. In the end he said 'well there's no wheeze but there's not much air entry either'.

I'm pretty crap at the strange manoeuvres they have you do at times while listening, but on the other hand I don't *think* I've ever been told that in a 'normal' dr's appt - mind you my GP doesn't share unless there's nothing odd to hear so he may have heard something before and not said. AFAIK know though it's been in the 2 slightly more 'ramped-up' situations (for me) recently where I've been told it's quiet, and I'm sort of assuming this isn't just technique on either my part or the person who's listening as I'd assume it would have happened before when I'm ok if so.

I guess I'm just confused as I thought quiet/lack of air entry was meant to be a bad sign but while I wasn't doing the best ever (hence calling 111 to begin with), I was more or less able to talk though it was a bit of effort (slightly confused about what counts as a 'full sentence' but I was still able to have a conversation though preferred not to talk too much), sats were ok at 96% and they were fine to let me stay, wait and see - so obviously it wasn't really that bad, and definitely nowhere on the scale of some attacks they must see and that others on here have.

I might be rambling but just wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences? I find I'm rarely totally alone in my weirdness on here ;)

4 Replies

I'm afraid I have nothing in reply to your post, however am interested to see if there's some scientific explanation behind chest noises. I've had the 'no wheeze but reduced air flow' comment before and I've had wheezing that I can here but magically disappears the minute a stethoscope comes anywhere near. I've also had the GP notice that I'm clipping sentences, yes has heard nothing. As you've said usually, the GP makes no comment, good or otherwise. I'm also not entirely convinced all GP's/doctors etc know what they are doing with a stethoscope anyway!!


I'm afraid I can't help but thought I might jump on board as this is a big problem I am having. On my most recent letter cons letter the diagnosis says - severe asthma cough predominant and my cons seems to really understand this (we did explore CVA but I do wheeze in response to allergic reaction just not as much as you might expect).

This is my lungs favourite party trick. In fact, when people do hear a wheeze I want to hug them! I've also had (from a recovery nurse after surgery) ""you are making some strange noises but it's not like the wheeze I usually hear"" I don't think I was wheezing on this occasion and it quickly disappeared despite the fact they were really confused by my inhaler and I don't think they twisted the bottom before giving it to me (I was just coming round from GA so all was a bit foggy)

I do find that a lot of the people I see notice that I talk in very short sentences when struggling and if they have seen we 'well' they know this is not normal. I also often stop mid sentence which can sometimes be mistaken for me thinking (again people who know me realise that this is not the case).

Sorry can't be any help whatsoever. I think someone should do a FAQ about uncooperative lungs.


I rarely wheeze Philomela and you know what I'm like at the min lol!! Its been picked up a few times - on Thurs there was a bit of a ""silent chest"" moment going off and a fair bit of concern - scary experience, though cons heard a ""slight"" wheeze on Fri - after chest infection confirmed by CXR.

I don't think any 2 attacks are the same, so some inconsistencies? I also wonder if it is something to do with the trigger of the attack? I dunno, perhaps rambling!!

I seem to have a slight wheeze (never audible unless steth listening) when not as bad or have an infection. I just think that you need to be prepared to explain not being a wheezer?

I don't get how they can tell if air flow is compromised though without a wheeze, I know they can though cos they often talk about airflow not being fab.

I've pretty much just rambled unhelpful crap lol!!

Hope you pick up soon x


Thanks! It all confuses me as I KNOW a wheeze is not essential but hear conflicting things - and tbh they hear conflicting things from my chest. I always say now I often don't wheeze, but this time there seemed to be something going on in there -or not - but I didn't really know how to interpret it.

My former cons insisted that it wasn't a real asthma wheeze if it was audible without a stethoscope and mine must have been laryngeal, but my housemate (ok lots more junior) says this isn't true and he could tell where the noises I make were coming from (often right at the end of a cough as I breathe out) and what they were from sitting next to me (closest he's getting, much as he'd like to hear more). Also I thought diff between asthma and laryngeal wheeze was inspiratory (laryngeal) vs expiratory (asthma esp at end of exhalation), not volume. Could be wrong but am sure ppl on here having definite asthma attacks have wheezed loudly enough for anyone to hear!

Butterfly - that may well be true. I am kind of unconvinced by the ones who listen for 2 secs in one place and say it's clear. It might well be and I'm no medic but really, you can tell just from that that there's nothing there?!


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