Man miserable at night needs to try out the latest sleep apnea devices

The Latest Sleep Apnea Devices and Treatment Options – Everything You Need to Know

By Jason Wooden, PhD | Updated for 2022

While CPAP is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea, many patients stop using their machines within a year.  Good news – they’re now more alternatives than ever before you can try.

The latest sleep apnea devices and treatment options include more comfortable air pressure systems, body positioners, innovative oral appliances and nerve stimulators, and surgically implanted suspension lines.

A) The truth about sleep apnea treatment

You’re certainly not the only one struggling with sleep apnea and finding a treatment that works for you.

So, it makes sense why so many people are curious about the latest sleep apnea devices.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder which currently affects over 18 million people in the US and nearly a billion people worldwide.

The breathing interruptions limit the supply of oxygen to the brain which is what causes your body to wake you up REPEATEDLY out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep.  (You can get the basics for sleep apnea here.)

In the morning, you wake up feeling as if you haven’t sleep at all and spend the day as a sleep-deprived zombie.

When CPAP came along, it’s was a godsend.  It uses an air pump and face mask to apply mild air pressure which helps the airway to stay open during sleep.

CPAP is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea and can be a real life changer.  Unfortunately, many patients stop using their CPAP machines within the first year of treatment.

Some find the mask uncomfortable while others complain about the blowing air, system leaks, dry nose, red eye, and nasal congestion.

The vibrating noise may also be a nuisance for the sleep of the patient and a bed mate.

women using cpap machine who may want to try the latest sleep apnea treatments

So, while CPAP is great when it’s working, it doesn’t work for everyone.

If this describes you, don’t give up – the health effects of untreated sleep apnea are serious.

Yes, sleep apnea wrecks sleep and leaves you feeling miserable throughout the day.  It can also increase your risk for other serious health challenges such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression.

Before you pull the plug on CPAP, a couple questions:

  • Have you tried any of these practical remedies?
  • Have you tried sleep counseling?  Research shows it can really make a difference for people starting CPAP.  (Read more about this here.)

If you’ve tried everything you can think of (including counseling), it’s really important to find an alternative as soon as you can if CPAP is not working out for you.

In the past, your choices have been limited to oral appliances and surgery in some cases.  (Oral appliances are devices which are used to reposition the jaw and tongue so that the airway stays more open).

Today there are more sleep apnea treatment options than ever before with more on the way.

Leaner face masks, smarter oral appliances, and new techy devices.

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, there’s no reason to keep living in misery, so don’t give up.

What’s your sleep apnea type?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common type, is mechanical problem in which the muscles in the throat relax during sleep causing the airway to collapse.

Central Sleep Apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to sent the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea is when you have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

More about sleep apnea

What’s your sleep apnea type?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common type, is mechanical problem in which the muscles in the throat relax during sleep causing the airway to collapse.

Central Sleep Apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to sent the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea is when you have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

More about sleep apnea

What’s your sleep apnea type?

 Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common type, is mechanical problem in which the muscles in the throat relax during sleep causing the airway to collapse.

Central Sleep Apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to sent the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea is when you have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

More about sleep apnea

B) Latest sleep apnea devices and treatment options

With more options than ever before, we’re living in a golden age for sleep apnea treatment.

They include more comfortable air pressure-based systems, body positioners, new nerve stimulation technologies, and surgically implanted suspension lines.

As you read through the list of the latest sleep apnea devices, here are some things to keep in mind:

Who is it recommended for?

Many of the latest sleep apnea treatments are for obstructive sleep apnea which is the type that most people have.  Some will also work for central sleep apnea.

You need a treatment that works for your specific sleep apnea type.  If you’re not sure about this, get diagnosed.

Prescription requirement

Most of the treatments are medical devices which by law require a prescription in the US and many other countries.  For this reason, you’ll have to work with a doctor to get properly diagnosed and a recommendation for a specific treatment.

Insurance coverage

Depending on your diagnosis, some are covered by insurance while others are covered partially or not all.

A sleep specialist can help you explore the latest sleep apnea devices:

  • figure out which ones to try
  • get a prescription
  • qualify for insurance

Here’s a quick look at the CPAP alternatives:

Recommended for central sleep apnea:  AirFit F30 cpap mask, Airing micro-CPAP, remede System

Here’s a more in depth look at the latest sleep apnea devices and CPAP alternatives for treatment:

AIR PRESSURE TREATMENTS

AirFit F30 CPAP mask:

How it works:  The AirFit F30 is a smaller full-face mask designed to sit more comfortably, cover less of your face, and leave behind fewer facial marks.

Recommended for:  obstructive and central sleep apnea

Proof it works:  ResMed clinical studies, CPAP users preferred this type of mask over others and found it more comfortable.

Pros:

  • quieter
  • fewer facial marks and less irritation
  • better for wearing glasses
  • easier to sleep on your side
  • fewer sleep disruptions from vent flow for users and their bed partners

Cons:

  • some may still find a mask uncomfortable
  • prone to leakage in certain positions if not fitted properly

Availability:
US local suppliers
US authorized online suppliers
UK
Ireland
Australia
Canada

Insurance coverage:  covered by most insurance providers

Made by:  ResMed
Customer Assistance (US and Canada): (800) 424-0737
User guide
Learn more

Video: AirFit F30 Full Face CPAP Mask Review

iNAP:

photo of iNAP which is one of the latest sleep apnea devices

How it works:  Unlike CPAP which uses positive air pressure to open up the airway, iNAP uses a light suction to move the tongue forward and open up the airway.

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea (all severities)

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • no mask or headgear
  • battery-powered
  • quiet
  • compact and portable
  • receive therapy within days after signing up
  • personalized onboarding with customer care team
  • phone app to help manage therapy

Cons:

  • must be able to breathe well through the nose during sleep
  • must be free of major issues with teeth, gums, soft palate, or nasal / sinus issues

Availability:  US, UK, EU and Asia/Pacific (select countries)

Insurance coverage:  Available for purchase or a monthly membership fee; may be eligible for coverage under HSA/FSA employer plans

Made by:  Somnics Health, Inc.
Phone: 833-766-6427
Company website
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Video: Somnics iNap Sleep Therapy (Somnics Health)

aerSleep:

Man using aerSleep which is one of the  latest sleep apnea treatments

How it works:  Uses a battery-operated tiny pump to create a vacuum on the outside of the neck which shifts throat tissues and the tongue forward to keep the airway open.

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  clinical study; currently being evaluated in additional clinical trials

Pros:

  • non-invasive, discrete
  • small and portable
  • no masks, machine, hoses, cords, or humidifiers required
  • quick set up

Cons:

  • may not work as well on patients with facial hair around mandible and neck area
  • may cause mild redness on neck for 20-30 minutes after use

Availability:  Canada; awaiting approval in US, Australia, Europe, and Asia

Insurance coverage:  may not be covered by all insurance plans

Made by:  Sommetrics, Inc.
Phone: 800-209-2841
E-mail (US): [email protected] (US)
E-mail (Canada): [email protected]
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more

Video: How aerSleep Works

Airing Micro-CPAP:

man sleeping with a micro cpap, an innovative new sleep apnea device

How it works:  Will use positive air pressure to keep the throat more open and promote breathing during sleep.  Device will be a disposable battery-operated nose implant that contains hundreds of micro-blowers to create airway pressure.

Recommended for:  obstructive and central sleep apnea

Proof it works:  under development

Pros:  compact, no mask, lightweight, and cordless

Cons:  too soon to know

Availability:  under development

Made by:  Airing
     Phone: +1-952-540-4470
     E-mail: [email protected]
     Learn more

Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy:

photo of provent sleep apnea treatment

How it works:  Disposable adhesive valves are placed over the nose to increase air pressure which keeps the airway more open during sleep.

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  clinical studies (1, 2)

Pros:

  • simple, discreet
  • disposable device, no need for cleaning
  • no mask or machine required
  • portable, ideal for travel

Cons:

  • may not work as well for mouth breathers
  • some may have a hard time getting use to adhesives

Availability:  discontinued 

Insurance coverage:  may not be covered

Made by:  Provent Sleep Therapy, LLC
Phone: 888-757-9355
E-mail: [email protected]
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more

Winx Sleep Therapy System:

How it works:  Inserted into the mouth to provide a gentle suction that pulls the soft palate and tongue forward which keeps the throat more open for better breathing

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  clinical trials

Pros:  no bulky mask or restraining headgear

Cons:

  • requires you to be able to breathe through your nose without mouth breathing
  • sucks saliva into a canister that must be emptied in the morning
  • possible issues if you have loose teeth or gum disease

Availability:  out of business  

Made by:  ApniCure

ORAL APPLIANCES

O2Vent Optima:

Photo of O2Vent optima mouthpiece, one of the latest sleep apnea technologies

How it works:  Mouthguard-like device that allows unobstructed air to flow to the back of the throat, bypassing common sites of obstruction such as the nose, tongue, and soft palate.  Unlike other oral devices, it adds stability to the airway in two ways  – moving the jaw forward and providing and airway channel.

Recommended for:  snorers, obstructive sleep apnea (mild to moderate)

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • works in two different ways (moving the jaw + airway channel)
  • lightweight and durable
  • noninvasive
  • good for patients who suffer nasal congestion or a blocked nose and revert to mouth breathing during sleep
  • good for patients allergies or nasal congestion

Cons:  may not work as well for more severe sleep apnea

Availability:  Australia, Canada, US

Insurance coverage:  some insurers may cover the full cost, while others may cover part of the cost (see reimbursement information)

Made by:  Oventus Medical
Contact
Frequently Asked Questions
Company Website

Recent news:
Oventus Medical (ASX:OVN) receives U.S. Medicare approval for O2Vent Optima

Video: O2Vent Animation

Vivos:

photo of Vivos in patient's mouth which as one of the latest sleep apnea devices

How it works:  Uses a proprietary mouth appliance to reposition and train the jawbone so that the airway is not obstructed

Recommended for:  mild to moderate sleep apnea, snoring

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • sleep apnea diagnosis can made at home using a sensor worn as a ring
  • customized treatment plan that begins with simple and easy at-home sleep apnea screening
  • non-surgical
  • short-term treatment
  • after completing treatment protocol, patients no longer require any type of OSA treatment

Cons:  May not work as well for more severe sleep apnea

Availability:  US, UK, Canada, Singapore, other countries (inquire)

Insurance coverage:  inquire with manufacturer

Made by:  Vivos Therapeutics, Inc
Phone: (720) 399-9322
Company website

Video: What Is Vivos?

POSITIONAL THERAPY

NightShift:

Photo of nightshift, one of the latest sleep apnea devices

How it works:  Trains patients to sleep in a healthier sleep position using a wearable device which vibrates when you sleep on your back and slowly increases in intensity until you change position.

Recommended for:  positional obstructive sleep apnea (patients with airway obstruction that worsens when sleeping on back compared to other positions)

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • noninvasive
  • easy to use
  • comfortable
  • easy to maintain
  • can monitor your sleep

Cons:

  • some may find it uncomfortable
  • may not work as well with patients with acute neck, shoulder, back pain, or issues such as skin sensitivity
  • not covered by insurance

Availability:  US (physician network) and Australia (online) via prescription

Insurance coverage:  may qualify toward your high deductible healthcare insurance (per manufacturer website)

Made by:  Advanced Brain Monitoring, Inc.
Phone: (760) 720-0099
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more

Recent news:
Why Clinicians May Miss Identifying Patients Who Could Benefit from Positional Sleep Apnea Therapies

Video:  Night Shift Introduction

NightBalance:

photo of nightbalance device which is one of the  latest sleep apnea treatments

How it works:  Trains patients to sleep in healthy positions.  Wearable device placed around the chest, vibrates when you sleep on your back to encourage you change position.

Recommended for:  positional obstructive sleep apnea (patients with airway obstruction that worsens when sleeping on back compared to other positions)

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • noninvasive
  • easy to use
  • comfortable
  • easy to maintain
  • can monitor sleep

Cons:

  • some may find it uncomfortable
  • not covered by insurance

Video:  NightBalance Overview

NERVE STIMULATION

Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation Device:

Drawing showing Inspire, one of the latest sleep apnea devices

How it works:  A small device is surgically implanted in the chest and can be turned on using a remote.  During sleep, it monitors your breathing and stimulates a nerve that keeps the upper airway open.

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea (find out here if you qualify)

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • no mask or oral appliance
  • less invasive than conventional obstructive sleep apnea surgeries
  • preserves the natural airway anatomy
  • designed to work with body’s natural anatomy & breathing processes
  • simple, easy to use

Cons:

  • requires surgery, although minimal (all surgeries carry a small risk)
  • some patients might feel a mild tingling sensation when in use
  • potential limitations on participating in very strenuous activities for the upper body

Availability:  US; UK (just introduced, inquire with manufacturer)

Insurance coverage:  Covered on a case by case basis (learn more)

Made by:  Inspire Medical Systems, Inc
     Phone: (844) 672-4357
     E-mail: [email protected]
     Frequently Asked Questions
     Learn more

Video:  New treatment for Sleep Apnea (CNN)

remedē System:

cartoon drawing of the remede device which is one of the  latest sleep apnea treatments

How it works:  Monitors and stabilizes breathing during the night using a pacemaker-like device that signals the large muscle which controls breathing.

Recommended for:  moderate to severe central sleep apnea in adult patients

Proof it works:  clinical studies (7, 8)

Pros:

  • no mask or oral appliance
  • minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • simple, easy to use

Cons:

  • requires surgery, although minimal (all surgeries carry a small risk)
  • some insurers cover on a case by case basis

Availability:  US

Insurance coverage:  some insurers

Made by:  Respicardia, Inc
Phone: 952-540-4470
E-mail: [email protected]
Learn more

Video:  remedē system helps patients with central sleep apnea at Saint Luke’s Hospital

eXciteOSA:

phot of eXcite which is one of the latest sleep apnea devices

How it works:  Retrains the tongue and upper airway muscles to stay in position so that the airway is not obstructed

Recommended for:  mild obstructive sleep apnea, snorers

Proof it works:  clinical studies

Pros:

  • comfortable and easy to use
  • daytime treatment
  • use for 20 minutes during the day while awake
  • after 6 weeks, only have to use once a week

Cons:  not for moderate or severe apnea

Availability:  US (prescription required), UK, Germany

Insurance coverage:  not currently covered by insurance, but it is FSA and HSA compatible

Made by:  Signifier Medical Technologies LLC

Phone: 1 844 MildOSA

US
UK
Germany

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Video: How does it work and who can benefit from it?

GENIO Implantable Stimulator:

How it works:  A tiny neurostimulator is implanted close to the nerve of the tongue and turned on at night by placing an activation chip placed under the chin. This triggers the tongue to contract and open the airway.

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  In progress

Availability:  Approved in EU, undergoing clinical trials  in US

Insurance coverage:  To be determined

Made by: Nyxoah
Phone: +32 10 45 90 75
E-mail: [email protected]
Learn more

THN Sleep Therapy (aura6000):

drawing showing the THN device which is one of the latest sleep apnea treatments

How it works:  Implantable device that mildly stimulates the tongue during the sleep to keep the airway open and reduce sleep apnea events

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  clinical studies (9, 10)

Pros:

  • minimally invasive, surgically implanted system usually as an outpatient procedure with quick recovery time
  • procedure is completely reversible
  • no masks, hoses, or mouthpieces

Cons:   requires surgery, although minimal (all surgeries carry a risk)

Availability:  In clinical trials
See if you qualify to participate

Cost:  To be determined

Insurance coverage:  To be determined

Made by:  LivaNova
Phone:  858-259-2980
Learn more

SUSPENSION LINES

AirLift:

How it works:  Uses suspension lines to reposition the hyoid bone or tongue to hold the airway open

Recommended for:  obstructive sleep apnea

Proof it works:  clinical studies (see “Publications”)

Pros:

  • minimally invasive, well-tolerated
  • reversible
  • can be performed in an outpatient setting
  • no mask or oral appliance to wear

Cons:

  • surgery
  • requires implant of screws and sutures which some may find intrusive or uncomfortable

Availability:  US

      Find an AIRLIFT trained Doctor

Insurance coverage:  yes

Made by:  Siesta Medical, Inc
     Phone: 408-320-9424
     E-mail: [email protected]
     Learn more

Video:  AirLift Procedure

C) How to try out the latest sleep apnea devices and treatment options

Ready to take one of the newer sleep apnea devices out for a test drive?

Here are some things that can help move the process along:

Do your homework – Educate yourself about the various options so that you’re ready to discuss pros and cons with a doctor.

Schedule a doctor appointment – A sleep specialist will play an important role in helping you figure out which treatments are worth trying, getting the prescription, and qualifying for insurance.

Work with your sleep specialist – As you try out a new treatment, they may be able make adjustments so that it works better for you.

Some of the latest sleep apnea devices may not yet be available because they haven’t been approved for use.

If you’re interested in something that’s still in development, talk to your doctor and the manufacturer about trying it out as a participant in a clinical trial.

D) What else can I do for my sleep apnea?

Don’t limit your quest for better sleep to sleep devices only.

Be sure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene so that you’re not sabotaging your sleep apnea treatment.

Sleep hygiene sets the stage for good sleep.  Once you fall asleep, your sleep apnea treatment will help you sleep more deeply with fewer breathing interruptions.

Some other practical things you can do:

Weight loss – Excessive weight has been linked to sleep apnea.  Studies have shown weight loss can help improve symptoms and, in some cases, eliminate the need for surgery or long-term CPAP therapy.

Avoid alcohol and smoking – Both have been linked to sleep apnea in studies.  Alcohol can relax the throat muscles that control breathing.  Tobacco use can worsen inflammation and swelling in the airway.

Change your sleep positionOver half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are due to sleep position.  Sleeping on your side or stomach are believed to help keep the airway open.  If you’re not a natural side sleeper, some of the new sleep apnea devices (positional therapy) can help retrain your body.

E) Insurance tips

Some of the latest sleep apnea treatments may only be partly covered or only on a case by case basis.  Your doctor will be important for getting you qualified and working with your insurance provider.

Some things to try if you are denied coverage:

  • Make sure the right billing codes were used and the claim properly submitted
  • Check your policy to see if the claim was legitimately denied
  • Ask your HR department for help
  • Contact your insurance company directly
  • File an appeal
  • Check with your state insurance department

What else you can try if you don’t have insurance coverage:

Sources:

1. A novel nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep. 2011; 34(4):479-85.

2. Nasal Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure Devices (Provent) for OSA: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sleep Disord. 2015; 2015: 734798.

3. Evaluation of Continuous Negative External Pressure (cNEP) for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Pilot Study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017; 13(8):1009-1012.

4. A multicenter evaluation of oral pressure therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Med. 2013 Sep;14(9):830-7.

5. Assessment of a neck-based treatment and monitoring device for positional obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2014; 10(8):863-71.

6. Outcome after one year of upper airway stimulation for obstructive sleep apnea in a multicenter German post-market study. Laryngoscope. 2018; 128(2):509-515

7. Sustained 12 Month Benefit of Phrenic Nerve Stimulation for Central Sleep Apnea. Am J Cardiol. 2018; 121(11):1400-1408.

8. Transvenous neurostimulation for central sleep apnoea: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016; 388(10048):974-82.

9. Targeted hypoglossal nerve stimulation for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: Six-month results. Laryngoscope. 2016; 126(11):2618-2623.

10. Targeted hypoglossal neurostimulation for obstructive sleep apnoea: a 1-year pilot study. Eur Respir J. 2013; 41(2):360-7.

11. Weight loss for obstructive sleep apnea: the optimal therapy for obese patients. J Am Diet Assoc. 1994; 94(11):1291-5.

12. Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med. 2018; 42: 38–46.

13. Interaction between smoking and obstructive sleep apnea: not just participants. Chin Med J (Engl). 2012; 125(17):3150-6.

14. The role of sleep position in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2006; 263(10):946-50.

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