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Distinguishing snoring sounds from breath sounds: a straightforward matter?



Distinguishing snoring sounds from breath sounds: a straightforward matter?



Sleep and Breathing 18(1): 169-176



Although snoring is a common problem, no unequivocal definition yet exists for this acoustic phenomenon. The primary study objective was to investigate whether snoring sounds can be distinguished at all clearly from breath sounds. Our secondary objective was to evaluate whether the sound pressure level in common use and psychoacoustic parameters are suitable for making this distinction. Twenty-five subjects exposed to 55 sound sequences were asked to decide whether these were breath sounds or snoring sounds, and to indicate how certain they were about their decision. The sound pressure level and the psychoacoustic parameters of loudness, sharpness, roughness, and fluctuation strength were then analyzed, and psychoacoustic annoyance was calculated from these parameters. Sixteen percent of the sound sequences could not be classified unequivocally, although the individual raters stated that they were still moderately certain about their decision. The sound pressure level and psychoacoustic parameters were capable of distinguishing between breath sounds and snoring sounds. The optimum for sensitivity and specificity was 76.9 and 78.8 %, respectively. Because snoring appears to be a subjective impression, at least in part, a generally valid acoustic definition therefore seems to be impossible. The sound pressure level and psychoacoustic parameters are suitable for distinguishing between breath sounds and snoring sounds. Nevertheless, when interpreting results, the only moderate validity of these parameters due to the absence of a universally valid definition of snoring should be taken into account.

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Accession: 036944866

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23794052

DOI: 10.1007/s11325-013-0866-8


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