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GUEST COLUMN: The very loud truth about snoring

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Don Ballantyne

Whadya mean I snore? I don’t snore. Never have and don’t tell me I do now.

You know the routine – she says you do, you say you don’t or maybe it’s the other way around. No one likes to admit the same meters that measure the decibel levels of planes at Pearson Airport can measure the sounds emitted in the wee hours of the night.

In fact, the loudest ever recorded snoring was by a British woman coming in at a whopping 111.1 decibels, just slightly less than a jet engine.

Sleep apnea is a deadly condition that has many negative health issues. It creates heart problems, constant tiredness and many other lifestyle issues. And it made me a confirmed noise machine. In fact, at one time I snored so loudly I would wake myself up.

Sleep apnea caused me to invest in a ventilator mask, called a CPAP, which keeps a constant positive air pressure flowing and prevents the closing of the airways.

The first step was to have a polysomnography in a sleep lab. Mine started at 9 p.m. and finished at 6:30 a.m. Now, here’s the part I don’t get. This is called a sleep lab. It should be called a “try as hard as you want but you still won’t be able to sleep” lab.

I had a mess of wires strung from my head, chest, legs, back, up my nose, and I looked like a subject from a Sci-Fi movie – “One more jolt Igor and we will have our monster – cackle, cackle.”

Whenever I turned over (“Sure, you can sleep on your side, back, whatever you’re comfortable with.”) I needed to gather all these wires together and make sure they followed my movements.


At 5:30 a.m. I sat up on the side of the bed. I was being monitored on a video camera and the technician was in the room in a flash. I told him I was done and was going home.

All the wires were removed (riiippp), I filled out the paperwork that basically said they had only read my brain waves and didn’t put anything into my brain) and I went home.

Prior to my Lazarus experience, I snored. Since losing 35 lbs. I don’t. I can’t wait to hear what the lab says.

So, if you see me wandering around Sarnia with a mask and looking like Hannibal Lecter, don’t worry, I’m harmless and I guess I can breathe easier.

Don Ballantyne is a retired sailor and lives in Sarnia with his wife Rose Mary

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