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zishun liu's picture

Snoring is defined as sounds made by vibrations in the soft palate and their adjacent tissues during sleep. Heavy snoring can result in sleep-related upper airway narrowing, which leads to respiratory flow limitation and increased respiratory effort. If untreated, heavy snoring may be complicated by excessive daytime sleepiness. Hence, snoring has received a great deal of clinical attention in recent years.

We identify the snoring sources and predict the snoring noise levels for a 3D human head model. Our human head model includes the upper part of head, neck, the soft palate, hard palate, tongue, nasal cavity and the surrounding walls of the pharynx. The snoring mechanism is investigated by applying the concept of structural intensity to a 3D finite element model of a human head. Results demonstrated that the vibrations of tissues are mainly in the areas of soft palate and tongue and nasal areas under fluid flow loading. For predicting snoring noise level, a 3D boundary element cavity model of upper airway in snoring is generated. The snoring noise level is predicted for the airflow loading estimated from the simulation of the fluid-structure interactions, and its range agrees with published measurements. These models may be further developed to study the various snoring mechanisms for different groups of patients. In future work, other details such as extrathoracic airways and fluid-structure interactions will be considered.


Teng Li's picture

Very interesting topic. I'm wondering if gravity plays a role in snoring, since common experience tells us snoring may be also related to sleeping positions. 

Can you point out some further reading materials, e.g., your publications on this subject and literatures of interest, to feed our curiosity? Thanks  

zishun liu's picture


Hi Teng, Very good suggestion. In our current study we did not consider the gravity. For normal people the gravity may be not so important comparing with the effect of air flow. For old person, the stiffness of the tissue becomes softening and the gravity may need to be considered. If you interest our work, you may find our publication in J. of Biomechanics.

Z.S. Liu, X.Y. Luo, H.P., Lee, and C. Lu, "Snoring source identification using structure intensity method". (in press) Journal of Biomechanics. (on-line version can be downloaded from web)



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