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New device cuts down on noise.

Snoring loudly affects up to 30% of the U.S. population, especially older men. The condition becomes so severe in about 30% of snorers that obstructive sleep apnea syndrome may develop. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, forgetfulness, and irritability. When severe, it can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure.

Many people do not seek help because they fear surgery or other options that are objectionable. A new option is a variety of noninvasive dental devices developed to treat snoring and the sleep apnea that can result. One is the SNOAR (sleep and nocturnal obstructive apnea reducing) dental appliance, a custom-made, acrylic and wire device that gently pulls the jaw forward and opens the mouth slightly. In preliminary studies, it controlled snoring in more than 90% of patients and produced little strain on the teeth and jaw joints. SNOAR was effective in reducing snoring and comfortable to wear. Studies at Pennsylvania State University by John R. Houck, now associate professor of otorhinolaryngology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, showed that 71% of sleep apnea patients had a decrease in episodes of apnea into the normal range when they wore the appliance,

"The SNOAR device has the advantages of effectiveness, portability, comfort, and ease of use," he points out. "Some patients have experienced relief after only one night of use, and [it has] proven to be effective in patients for the entire four years of the study." The device costs $650, compared to between $5,000 and $6,000 for [surgery], which often is not covered by many insurance companies because, if the procedure is done just for snoring, it is considered "cosmetic."

Although males traditionally have been associated with snoring, many husbands now are bringing their wives in for treatment. "The ratio used to be 10 men to every one woman, but that's rapidly changing," Houck notes.
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Title Annotation:snoring
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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