It’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) time again, that time of year when manufacturers bring out all their visionary products to try to build buzz about them. These newly released or soon-to-be released products are experimental, which means that they are either set to transform their industry or disappear completely as attempts that missed their mark.
And among these assorted gadgets we see an increasing amount of tech targeting snoring and sleep apnea. Unfortunately, this technology is often poorly conceived and may actually cause more harm than good.
An example of this is the new Hupnos mask, an anti-snoring device that positions itself almost as a sleep apnea treatment device, even though it hasn’t been tested and approved for that purpose.
What Is It?
Hupnos is a sleeping mask that fits over your eyes and nose. The light-blocking feature is supposed to help you get good sleep in a darkened environment, which can be hard to do in our modern environment of indoor light pollution. But the mask has another function. When the mask detects the sound of snoring, it assesses your position. If it thinks you’re in a position that likely contributes to snoring (e.g. on your back), it vibrates to gently encourage you to wake up and change position. This is similar to the elbow many spouses deliver in the middle of the night to their snoring partner.
If the mask detects that you’re still snoring, it then initiates EPAP (expiratory positive airway pressure) to try to open your airway. EPAP works by stopping outward breathing from your nostrils to increase pressure in your airway, hopefully keeping it open.
Why It Might Cause Harm
The biggest problem with many snoring treatments, including Hupnos, is that it can keep people from seeking out professional help for what could be a deadly problem. Snoring is only the most noticeable sign associated with sleep apnea–it’s a warning about the problem, not the problem itself. Whenever a device like this seeks to remove the sound of snoring, it is essentially removing the warning, helping people ignore the problem rather than fixing it. It’s like turning off the “check engine” light on your car without actually getting the engine checked: you could be setting yourself up for major problems in the future.
If Hupnos does work as promised, people may find that it helps their partner to sleep, but won’t improve their own sleep, thanks to all the enforced turnings and slight awakenings throughout the night.
Even worse is the fact that some people may think Hupnos is actually treating their problem. That’s because EPAP is actually a treatment sometimes prescribed for sleep apnea, a less invasive alternative to CPAP. People might not know the EPAP portion of the mask hasn’t actually undergone clinical trials to prove its effectiveness against sleep apnea. This might cause them to put off getting diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea even longer. During that time, the serious health impacts of sleep apnea can increase significantly. However, you wouldn’t know it, because your sleep apnea may still be undiagnosed.
Get Snoring Checked Out
It’s important to treat snoring as what it is: a warning sign of a potentially deadly condition. If you are a snorer, you need to be tested for sleep apnea, and then receive effective sleep apnea treatment that you will actually follow through with.
We can help. At the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha, we work with leading sleep physicians in the area to help you get an accurate diagnosis. You can learn whether you have sleep apnea and need treatment, or if you have simple snoring.
To learn more about snoring, sleep apnea, and what’s affecting your sleep, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha.