Sleep apnea is not just treatable, it can be treated conveniently and easily with an oral appliance. But in order to treat sleep apnea, we first have to diagnose it, which requires a sleep test, called a polysomnogram.

This sleep test is often performed at a sleep clinic, which can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for many people. Although many people qualify for an at-home sleep test, this still involves hooking up equipment that can make it hard for people to get a normal night’s sleep. This can interfere not just with sleep, but also with results, making the sleep test less accurate.

But now a new sound-based sleep test might be able to help. As the least invasive sleep test available, it would make sleep apnea diagnosis even more comfortable and convenient.

Analyzing Breathing Rhythms

It makes sense that a sound-based sleep test should be able to detect sleep apnea. After all, many of the common signs of sleep apnea are audible. Snoring, for example, is the classic sign of sleep apnea. And when breathing stops, that pause should also be audible. But is it possible to take that sound data and put together an accurate analysis of sleep apnea?

Researchers at Ben-Guiron University (BGU) think so. They claim that their breath sound analysis (BSA) can actually be used to predict sleep quality, snoring severity, and obstructive sleep apnea.

They trained their system on 80 individuals, then used it to evaluate the breathing of a further 70 subjects. Using ambient microphones to evaluate the sound of subjects’ breathing and compared that with the effects of a simultaneous polysomnogram. As they trained the system, they identified acoustic features that could be used to gauge sleep quality and breathing quality, which they found could be compared reliably with the polysomnogram data.

They found that the data from the sound study was accurate to the polysomnogram data about 83.3% of the time. That’s a pretty promising first step. If the algorithm improves even further, it could be used to allow you to perform your own sleep apnea test at home with just your smartphone, a significant improvement over the current sleep apnea apps.

Don’t Wait to Get Tested

Although it’s true that a sound-based sleep test would be even more convenient, today’s polysomnograms are easier than they’ve ever been. Sleep centers are more comfortable and they’re designed to help you get a more natural sleep experience. And take-home sleep tests are more comfortable than ever, too.

Sleep apnea is doing damage to your heart and brain every day–don’t put off testing any longer. Please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center who can direct you to your best sleep test options.