The Internet is buzzing with excitement about the potential for a new snoring solution : taping a snorer’s mouth shut. While we admit there’s a certain visceral appeal to the idea–who hasn’t thought of it on their own?–there are many reasons why you shouldn’t try this at home.
The biggest reason why not to try it is that it’s unproven. So far, there is little evidence that this technique will have any positive impact. Most of the news coverage on the technique focuses on the upcoming trial that will use 30 women who will try the device for one night. Just because a trial is going to start doesn’t mean the technique is at all practical.
Other times, there are vague references to a “pilot study,” that showed a one-third reduction in snoring. But where is this study? How many people were involved? How long did they use the device?
The only actual published study on the procedure involved 30 patients who used the treatment for one night. The results are not impressive. All the people in the trial had mild sleep apnea, an average of 12.0 apneas an hour. This dropped to 7.8 with treatment. Still mild sleep apnea. The impact on snoring was even less impressive. Without treatment, the average snoring volume was 49 decibels. With treatment, the average snoring volume was 41 decibels. Using an analogue scale, that’s like taking a floor fan and replacing it with a refrigerator.
It’s Potentially Disruptive
Many people only snore when their nasal passages become blocked due to allergies or illness. That’s what forces them to breathe through their mouth. If you force them to breathe through their nose in these situations, there’s a risk their breathing will be even more obstructed than before.
This can make it hard for a snorer to sleep, and may cause them to have the worst night of their lives.
One of the complaints people have about CPAP is that it can cause skin irritation and breakouts. That’s likely to be the case if you’re simply taping a person’s mouth shut, too. It’ll probably be even worse because of the direct contact between a person’s skin and the adhesive.
There’s Already a Better Solution
It’s hard to understand why people are looking for more snoring solutions when oral appliances are so effective for so many people. If you haven’t tried one, we strongly recommend that you do–you’ll be delighted with the results.