The Impact of Playing a Musical Instrument on Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review

Jurjen C. de Jong, Andrew J. Maroda, Macario Camacho, Philip G. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: To conduct a systematic review of the medical literature evaluating the effects of playing a musical instrument on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Data Sources: Scopus, CINAHL, PubMed, and OVID. Review Methods: Searches were performed through October 22, 2019. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement was followed. Results: After thorough investigation amidst specific exclusion criteria, four studies were included in the systematic review: one randomized controlled trial and three cross-sectional studies. Polysomnography was used to assess apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the randomized controlled trial, while the Berlin questionnaire was used to assess high- and low risk OSA in the cross-sectional studies. Various instrument types were mentioned in these studies, largely focusing on wind instruments and subgroups within the wind instrument family. Conclusion: Current literature, although sparse, suggests that playing certain types of wind instruments are associated with either improving patients’ AHI or reducing the risk of developing OSA. Future studies with larger sample sizes utilizing validated diagnostic tools to measure the presence and severity of OSA are necessary to determine the true impact of such interventions. Although more research is needed, sustainable and minimally invasive interventions such as playing a specific type of musical instrument could serve as an accessible, inexpensive, and effective adjunctive treatment for OSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-929
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • OSA
  • alternative medicine
  • music
  • oropharynx
  • otolaryngology
  • otology
  • rhinology
  • sleep disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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