There are many methods of reducing snoring, which is a fairly good indicator that none is perfect. The New Zealand Consumers' Institute tested a fairly extensive range of products in August 2003, and stated: “There is little evidence that most of them work”. Given that snoring is likely to be a continuous problem, I have estimated the daily costs of three years of treatment. Operations and mouth guards may of course last longer than this, but have a bigger initial outlay.
Efforts to reduce snoring should involve serious attempts at weight loss, increasing fitness, and smoking and alcohol reduction. Some use earplugs to reduce the partner’s disturbance.
|Mouth guards (to keep the jaw/tongue forward) Snoreguard||$0.76|
|Oral Sprays (said to reduce surface tension or lubricate the throat)||$1.11|
|Tablets (unproven homeopathic remedies)||$1.00|
|Nasal strips (which attempt to open up narrow nostrils)||$1.10|
|UPPP (major surgery to the throat)||$4.50|
|LAUP (major laser surgery to the throat)||$4.50|
|Snore-Op (minor radio frequency tightening of palate)||$0.73|
and that is the use of Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP), which is dramatically effective in those who can tolerate it. This involves the wearing of an appliance over the nose, which delivers a pressure of air up the nostrils all night, and greatly lowers the Epworth Sleepiness Score (ESS.) in the patient. A large weight loss and sometimes having a Snore-Op will reduce the effects of sleep apnoea.
CPAP is available through specialist referral either privately, or with some delay through the New Zealand public hospital system. One would expect to have a sleep study to verify the presence of true sleep apnoea, although there are other less expensive options that require evaluation and comparison.
The ESS can often dramatically reduce using “Snore-Op” technology, as it has in my own case (from 17 to 3!). It is a minor operation similar to a visit to the dentist, and has shown to reduce snoring noise in our series of 119 patients in over 80 % of people. Other studies have compared this to the major surgery options and found it at least as effective. It has not yet been medically proven to reduce sleep apnoea. The use of this procedure is growing rapidly around New Zealand as doctors are trained in the method. To enquire about a “Snore-Op” trained doctor nearest to you, check elsewhere in the web page.
Snoreplasty was only available in one city in New Zealand, and it appears to have died a natural death, being not as effective as a snoring operation