February 12, 2014

Chin Strap May Help with Snoring

There is a relatively simple (and cheap) device that may help some people who snore called a chin strap. This lowly, humble, and low-tech device may benefit patients who typically snore when:

1) Lays on back, but not on side
2) Mouth-breathes when sleeping (but suffers no nasal obstruction)
3) Does not suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea
4) Appears to be "slack-jawed" when sleeping (chin pushed back relative to upper jaw creating a pseudo-overjet dental appearance)

How (or more importantly why) does this device work?

When a person sleeps who also mouth-breathes AND has a chin that falls backwards, it also causes the tongue to fall back against the back wall of the throat causing a partial narrowing. It also causes the overall throat diameter to decrease causing the throat mucosa to loosen creating the perfect environment for snore production: a partially narrow airway resulting in negative pressure due to increased respiratory effort which triggers any loose mucosa to vibrate causing a snore sound.

A chin strap can be used to force the mouth closed into a more normal position (chin in normal forward position with teeth in normal occlusion). By preventing the chin from falling backward, it would prevent the tongue from falling backward. By preventing the tongue from falling backward, the partial airway narrowing could be avoided. By preventing the airway from narrowing, the throat mucosa would be more taught and less prone to vibrate as well as prevent increased respiratory effort and a "negative" pressure environment.

Where can you get one? There's a whole bunch that can be purchased on Amazon.com.

So there you have it... Of course, keep in mind that the chin-strap will NOT work for everybody as the snore production could be due to other factors unrelated to the chin, tongue, mouth position.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

1 comment:

Luke said...

I used a chin strap for my snoring but I thought I looked like a bit of a clown lol, my wife would just laugh at me, so I started using a mouthpiece which I thought helped a lot more too :) Not a big fan of the chin strap, don't really recommend it.

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