The market for anti-snoring devices is booming. The number of people who snore increases along with increased obesity rates and people are becoming more aware of the dangers of snoring. To try to capitalize on this market, more and more manufacturers are introducing at-home remedies that claim to control snoring.
The snoring in a dangerous way: they resolve it enough that it gets ignored, but life-threatening sleep apnea persists. If your sleep apnea remains untreated, you are still at risk for major health risks, including heart problems, metabolic problems, and cognitive difficulties. Here’s why snoring gadgets may resolve your snoring problem but leave serious health consequences.
Noise Cancelling Is Not Snore Cancelling
One trend in modern snoring devices is trying to find ways to cancel out the noise from snoring. This can be white noise generators, earplugs, or even complicated noise cancelling devices. But these devices have one thing in common: they don’t actually resolve snoring problems. And any health issues related to snoring and sleep apnea will persist.
Not only that, but because it’s not addressing the snoring directly, you either need to set up noise cancelling for each affected hearer, not just the snorer. Since some snorers impact everyone in the house, this can get expensive and complicated. It’s best to address the snoring at the source.
Snoring Can Come from Multiple Sites
Another problem you might encounter with at-home snoring devices is that your snoring might be coming from multiple locations in the airway. And the one that makes the loudest sound may not be the one that causes the most apneas. For example, many people use breathing strips across the bridge of the nose to help treat snoring. These can widen the nostrils and reduce snoring in the nostrils, which can be loud and disruptive.
But the nostrils are almost never the source of sleep apnea. Improving breathing through the nostrils will not eliminate interruptions in breathing. But because the snoring volume might have dropped significantly, you might think everything is better, even though the snoring might still be quite loud.
A Widened Airway May Still Collapse
Snoring is caused by a narrow airway. This causes the turbulent flow of air in the airway, which causes vibrations and therefore sound. This is related to sleep apnea because a narrow airway is more likely to collapse at night.
Over-the-counter snoring devices work by opening up the airway to eliminate turbulent flow, but it may not eliminate it enough to stop the collapse of the airway. In fact, with this type of device, it’s almost impossible to get a good sense of how well it is working and what you can do to improve its function.
With professional devices, we can work to customize the fit and position of your device to make sure you get enough widening of the airway to avoid collapse. And we can adjust the device to make sure you continue to keep your airway open. Over-the-counter snoring remedies are rarely adjustable, and when they are, it’s hard to tweak them to get optimal results.
Low Standards for Reduced Snoring
Snoring treatment actually doesn’t have to be truly successful to be considered successful. The main reason why many people seek snoring treatment is because their co sleeper has complained. If the complaints stop, the snoring treatment is considered successful. Often, people stop complaining if they find they are able to sleep through the snores.
But a snoring treatment can be “successful” in this way and still leave a significant amount of snoring. And it may leave sleep apnea unaffected. If you’ve gotten accustomed to a very loud snore, then just a loud snore might not be enough to keep you awake. And if you’re sleeping through snoring, you likely won’t notice if your partner is having episodes of choking or wakefulness.
If You Snore, Get Tested for Sleep Apnea
The key to avoiding this potential risk is to get tested for sleep apnea if you’re a snorer. Then you’ll know whether you have to worry about serious health problems related to your sleep. Snoring is a common warning sign for sleep apnea, and it’s associated with louder snoring. If you are a loud snorer, you are more likely to have sleep apnea. If your snoring is keeping other people in the house or apartment awake, you should get tested for sleep apnea.
If you don’t have sleep apnea, you can try at-home remedies for snoring. But if you do have sleep apnea, professionally designed and fitted oral appliances can help eliminate both snoring and apnea. This includes the DNA appliance, which can reshape your airway to cure your sleep apnea.
To learn more about getting successful snoring treatment in the San Jose area, please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.