Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anti-Snoring Machine

From Kiev, Ukraine
When I got to the hostel I found I had five roommates. I was informed right away by Lauren, one of the backpackers here, that at least two of them were snorers. This was exactly the sort of situation I feared would happen when opting to bunk in a room full of people.

And the first night was terrible. Even though I wore both earplugs and noise-reduction headphones, the snoring cut right through.

This is when I switched into "Survivor" mode. At 3 AM I removed my earplugs and headphones. I then listened closely to determine who exactly was snoring around me.

The next morning I said to Lauren, "You and I have something very special in common. Neither of us snore. How about we form an alliance? Perhaps we can move to a double room someplace else in the hostel."

Lauren agreed to this, so we then asked the manager if we could move. He agreed to help us out by moving us upstairs. But then we learned that one of the employees in the hostel WHO SLEEPS IN ANOTHER ROOM had been awakened by the snoring, and she went upstairs to escape it only to find that it was just as loud up there!


I switched to plan B. Plan B was to build an Anti-Snoring Machine. Not a machine that would stop a snorer from snoring, but a machine to prevent me from hearing snoring. Here is what I did:

1) I went to and downloaded the one hour sample of white noise on the top.

2) I dropped the mp3 into Sony SoundForge.

3) I deleted the fade-in and fade-out of the 1 hour sample.

4) I copied and pasted the file several times in order to stretch it out to 8 hours, checking the transition the 1st time to be sure it resulted in steady, unbroken sound.

5) I do not know the maximum length of a music file for an iPod (I don't have an iPod). But 8 consecutive hours was too long to fit on my personal digital recorder/player. So, I would have to play it from my laptop.

7) The resultant file played smoothly in iTunes.

8) I set the computer up beside my bed, elevated it with two books, spread apart in order to better let the battery breathe, and then draped a shirt over the screen in order not to disturb others if I needed to wake up and make volume adjustments throughout the night.

It was a success. Our bunkmate snored last night, but the white noise, in combination with my earplugs, completely eliminated the sound. I slept very well. In fact, I had to be shaken awake at a quarter to ten!

The one disadvantage is that clunky headphones are uncomfortable to wear when sleeping. But this problem was a delight to have compared to the annoyance of listening to snoring all night.

By the way, Piet, who is the snorer in question, is a great guy.


  1. HAHAHAHA! You're a genius! And wow your roommate might be competition for Ralph and Mike combine (heard from another room LOL!). Glad that your Anti-Snoring Machine works, PATENT IT!

  2. I am extremely immodest about the Anti-Snoring Machine. It will prove useful for years to come.