Vibrating Headband Could Offer a Drug-Free Way To Unblock a Stuffy Nose

When you have a stuffy nose, the most recommended way to combat it is to use a decongestant. Unfortunately, some decongestant sprays are not suitable for certain patients, such as those with high blood pressure. Now there’s a vibrating headband that could offer a novel, drug-free way to unblock a chronic stuffy nose. New research has shown that the headband is as good at reducing symptoms as nasal steroid sprays which, though effective, can cause side effects like nosebleeds. Patients wear the headband for two 15-minute sessions a day. Clinical trials have shown that symptoms improve within a week of using the device. When nasal congestion is triggered by things like pet hair, dust mites, or pollen, the irritation causes blood vessels within the nasal lining to become swollen, leading to excessive production of mucus. The new headband delivers sound waves into the bones above the nose, and the vibrations travel to the blocked nasal cavity and sinuses, helping to reduce swelling of the blood vessels, while also shifting the mucus. The battery-powered headband is controlled by an app on a smartphone, which decides the best frequency for the vibrations. Researchers from the University of Texas say the band could be an alternative for patients who have difficulty adhering to pharmacological treatments. Larger clinical trials would have to be conducted before the headband could be made available to the public, but researchers are hopeful that in the near future the headband will be an alternative to decongestants.