What is snoring?

When snoring, during sleep a whistling, wheezing or rumbling sound is made while breathing. Sometimes so loud that a partner, housemate or even neighbour is inconvenienced.

When breathing, air flows through the nasal cavity, the pharynx and the windpipe to the lungs. The vocal cords are situated in the upper part of the windpipe (behind the Adam's apple). Snoring sounds arise through a constriction of the air way in the section between the entry way of the nose (the nostrils) and the vocal cords. Snorers can have a nasal cavity that is too narrow, but usually there is a constriction behind the uvula (the passage from the nasal cavity to the pharynx) or the area in the pharynx behind the tongue.

Because of this constriction, underpressure occurs in the throat, sucking the soft palate with the uvula, the tongue and the sides of the pharynx inwards and making them vibrate; this causes the snoring sound. Snoring sounds can be compared to deflating a balloon; a vast amount of air flows very fast through a narrow passageway, causing the passageway to vibrate and make a shrieking sound.