Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of regular singing exercises in reducing symptoms of snoring and sleep apnoea. Methods: A prospective single blinded randomised controlled trial was conducted in the otolaryngology department of a UK teaching hospital (Exeter). 127 adult patients with a history of simple snoring or sleep apnoea were recruited. 93 patients completed the study. Patients were excluded because of severe sleep apnoea (apnoea index > 40), or morbid obesity (BMI > 40). The study group completed a self-guided treatment programme of singing exercises contained on a 3CD box set, performed for 20 minutes daily. Outcome measures included the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, the SF-36 generic quality of life assessment tool, visual analogue scales (VAS range 0-10) of snoring loudness and frequency, and visual analogue scale of compliance (for intervention group). Results: The Epworth scale improved significantly in the experimental group compared to the control group (difference -2.5 units; 95% CI -3.8 to -1.1; p = 0.000). Frequency of snoring reduced significantly in the experimental group (difference -1.5; 95% CI -2.6 to -0.4; p = 0.01), and loudness of snoring showed a trend to improvement which was non-significant (difference -0.8; 95% CI -1.7 to 0.1; p = 0.08). Compliance with exercises was good; median 6.6 (quartiles = 4.1, 8.3). Conclusions: Improving the tone and strength of pharyngeal muscles with a 3 months programme of daily singing exercises reduces the severity, frequency and loudness of snoring, and improves symptoms of mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
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