THE WEBSITE OF ALLEN J. MOSES, DDS
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Snoring is a loud sound generated by some people as they breathe during sleep. It has been reported that one third of the population snore. It has been estimated that 60% of all males and 40% of all females over the age of 60 snore. The sound of snoring in some people has been measured at 90 decibels - a loudness that would require ear plugs in the industrial workplace. Virtually all people who have apnea snore to some extent, but not all snorers have apnea.
Benign snoring is nonobstructive and is in most cases the uvula fluttering in response to rapid air flow. The analogy is the sound of a flag flapping in a stiff wind.
Obstructive snoring results from a partial airway closure and/or a narrow airway. According to Bernoulli's Principle, "A decrease in the size of the lumen causes an increase in velocity of air, resulting in a decrease in pressure, sucking in the compliant airway walls and facilitating obstruction". The more obstructions, the more turbulence and greater suction on the walls. Tonsils, adenoids, fat tissue in the throat, swollen nasal membranes, long palate, deviated septum, and a large flaccid tongue narrow the airway, increase the speed and turbulence of inspired air. The vibration created by their impediment to airflow creates the sound of obstructive snoring.