There’s so many snoring devices promoted online and in stores, but what works?

Many devices are promoted to reduce snoring, but many of them are not effective. Dr Harry Ball (Dentist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) discuss some of the devices used to treat snoring. For a more in depth written article discussing snoring treatments click here.

Snoring can be a marker for sleep apnea, so if symptoms don’t settle with some of the devices discussed, talk to your doctor about your snoring, as there are other effective treatments that can be prescribed by sleep specialists, such as:

  • Mandibular advancement splints – see this video for more details
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – see this video for more details
  • Surgery – listen to this interview with an ENT specialist for more information

Related posts & links:

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Dr. David Cunnington: Snoring is a really common problem that lots of people have got. So what are some of the things you’ve seen people try to help with their snoring?

Dr. Harry Ball: Yeah. Well, I’ve seen almost everything that’s out there. Really people generally will try things especially if they’re inexpensive and simple. So you go to the chemist store or you go online. There are just so many different things available for snoring. A lot of people have tried it. You can see – this particular patient, I’ve got a picture here of a patient who came to see me and this is pretty typical where they just pull out these things from their hand bag as to – as to what they have tried and you can see this person has tried three things.

An interesting thing is the ring that they’ve tried. So you can see there’s a thing called the snore ring and I find that a really fascinating type device which is supposed to work on an acupressure point. The ACCC had stopped them advertising and making claims.

And interesting – I read the ACCC report and they’ve sold over 300,000 rings in Australia and they’re about $50 each. So there are a lot of people out there and they’ve claimed that it has been recommended by physicians. But when they were asked, there was no physician that was recommending it at all.

So they’re the sort of things we – that we’ve gotten and you can see here. These are some of the things that are available. Like there’s a spray that you can get from the chemist. So you just spray at the back of the mouth and lubricating. It’s somehow supposed to stop snoring. There are lozenges. There are these herbal lozenges that you can use. Hopefully they taste good because they’re not going to do much else.

Dr. David Cunnington: Right.

Dr. Harry Ball: They’re just things you put on your nose, on the outside of the nose up high to supposedly reduce the snoring, and chin straps are quite common as well, which the aim here …

Dr. David Cunnington: That’s one of my personal favourites. It’s marketed pretty heavily on the internet.

Dr. Harry Ball: Yes. So it goes like that and supposedly this stops the snoring. Do you think there will be much success with this one?

Dr. David Cunnington: No. Particularly when we think about how all the appliances work, we think – we know they work by bringing the lower jaw forward. So something like a chin strap that’s going to be pulling the lower jaw back is not going to be helping and if anything, may make things worse.

Dr. Harry Ball: Exactly, and can cause some jaw problems as well. So people try all these devices and generally, there has been some studies showing that they don’t work basically because the problem is very much anatomical, mechanical at the back of the throat.

Dr. David Cunnington: There are some other things that there are some data for. So this device, the Mute Snoring device which is made by a Melbourne company, essentially opens up the other part of the nose. So for people who have got some narrowing right on the other part of the nose, which is also where I think the Breathe Right Strips may play a role, it may actually reduce snoring. They’ve got good data showing it improves air flow through the nose and less good data about snoring. But it may have some promise.

One of the ways people can check if they’re having that type of problem, seems a bit crude, but you can lift up the tip of the nose and sniff in. If it’s easier to breathe in, when you lift up the tip of the nose, you may get some relief from something like a Mute Snoring device.

Now devices where there is actually a bit more data for snoring, devices like the nasal EPAP type devices. So one is called Provent and it’s an adhesive valve that sits on the nostrils, one on each nostril, and creates an airtight seal. As you breathe in, it feels pretty normal. But as you breathe out, there’s a bit of resistance to air flow and the valve creates a back pressure on the back of the airway.

Provent is one form and then its brother Theravent and other forms that’s marketed for snoring. I will also use this type of device to keep people off their back. So this is a night shift device that has been trying to be effective to keep people off their back and a lot of snoring is about – it’s positional, so worse when people are on their back.

There’s also some research showing some other things work like didgeridoo playing believe it or not and upper airway exercises as a Brazilian group has shown that eight minutes, three times a day, every single day can reduce your snoring. I’m not sure if anyone is going to do that on a regular basis. But it does show that concept, that that can work.

Dr. Harry Ball: Yeah. One of the things about the devices you’ve just shown David is that I find especially people in the very severe group of if they’re overweight, often the oral appliance will work to an extent but there still may be a little bit of snoring or tiredness in these combination treatments where people might use the night shift to stay on their side or the Theravent or even the Mute can really make a difference. So it may not work on its own but in combination of the oral appliance.

Dr. David Cunnington: Yeah, that’s a really good point. That’s one of the things we’re increasingly doing is looking at combination therapy rather than just, OK, one thing. That’s not working, let’s switch to another thing. It’s using these devices in a complementary sort of way.

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