What is the NOSE score?

It may sound like a joke but there really is a N.O.S.E. assessment for nasal congestion. Taking it may help you find a better way to breathe.

The N.O.S.E. score is not some sort of gag. It is a serious medical tool that helps quantify the severity of a person’s nasal congestion. The questionnaire has been used for 15 years in nasal congestion research, its causes, and its treatments. These sorts of assessments are commonly used in medicine for other problems, so why not for your nose?

What is the N.O.S.E (Nasal Obstruction Septoplasty Effectiveness) scale?

As you can see by the names in the acronym, the original use of the N.O.S.E. scale was to figure out how effective a particular nasal surgery (septoplasty – or straightening up the inside of the nose) was for nasal obstruction. Its use has been expanded as a tool for rating the intensity of your own nasal congestion symptoms.

Each question is answered with a rating of severity:

Numerical ratings:

0 – Not a problem

1 – Very mild problem

2 – Moderate problem

3 – Fairly bad problem

4 – Severe problem


  1. Nasal congestion or stuffiness – the less severely blocked up feeling that accompanies a cold or allergy.
  2. Nasal blockage or obstruction – a more constant blockage that doesn’t seem to be related to a cold, infection, or seasonal allergy.
  3. Trouble breathing through my nose – more severe and persistent breathing difficulty that interferes with normal, daily activity.
  4. Trouble sleeping – your breathing difficulty is accompanied by snoring, disrupted sleep, restlessness, or sleep apnea.
  5. Unable to get enough air through my nose during exercise or exertion – you feel “starved” or deprived of oxygen while exercising or exerting yourself.

    Results – the answers are added and multiplied by 5 to give the final score

    0 – no obstruction

    5-25 – mild obstruction

    30-50 – moderate obstruction

    55-75 – severe obstruction

    80-100 – extreme obstruction

Use the Noselife self-assessment tool to assess your level of nasal obstruction. It will help you decide if your nose needs medical attention.

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