A Catalog of Snoring Torture Devices
In my continuing quest to share with you the fascinating and occasionally checkered history of ENT medicine, I came across this article outlining some of the truly horrific things doctors recommended to cure the snore back in 1917.
Yes, there are medieval objects and inexplicable gizmos on the list. But what’s most fascinating is that for the most part, the theory behind these devices is sound: snorers definitely make more noise, and experience more labored breathing, on their backs. Yet the devilish ingenuity required to come up with these increasingly sadistic ways to make back-sleeping unpalatable is this gallery’s real attraction, and the part that would never fly today. (Witness, for instance, this one-way valve that prohibits inhalation through the mouth.)
Today we have a number of far safer and less painful ways to minimize snoring and cure obstructive sleep apnea, including popular septal surgery. My sinus surgery practice has had good results attacking this issue in several ways, including turbinate reduction surgery and nasal polyp removal.
If nothing else, this gallery stands as a testament to the fact that snoring has always been a terrible burden and a dangerous habit. I’m just thankful we now have ways to address the issue without breaking out the iron maiden.