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  • Writer's pictureDr Val

Just Breathe....Through Your Nose

“But what about your mouth??”

That’s the number one question we’re asked about HERO, our nasal filtration system. Many people are wondering about breathing through the mouth, and how something as small as HERO can actually impact your health. Here’s the secret-humans breathe BETTER through their nose.

Your mouth and nose both can, technically, bring air in to your respiratory system. But just as your nose can’t taste things, since its not designed for food (do NOT try this at home), your mouth can’t smell things-since its not designed for air. Don’t believe me? Let’s get into the science.

The inside of your nose is a built in filter-essentially a labyrinth of bones covered in a special lining that picks up scents, trap allergens, and has unique cells which can excrete mucus. Flowing through all this space allows air to be warmed and humidified, which means your more vulnerable parts lower in your airways, your trachea and lungs, are less irritated. Air brought in through the nose is easier for the lungs to extract oxygen from as well (1). There are several studies which show that those with exercise induced asthma suffer fewer attacks if they are breathing through their nose during exercise vs breathing through their mouth. (2)

“But you breathe air in when you’re talking!”

Well….sort of. Yes, some air does get into your mouth when you speak. However if you think about the physics of airflow, most of the air movement when you’re talking is heading out of your mouth, not in. Your mouth also doesn’t have the same lining as your nose-meaning its less sensitive to the outside world (it also means its not as good as filtering out the nasties) Lastly, the study referenced below shows that even untrained people inhale through their nose and mouth simulataneously >80% while speaking (3). Add in some basic training, such as what you would teach to a singer or actor, and the frequency of nasal only breathing can increase significantly.

This is why full-face masks, or respirators, are needed for those going into high risk areas: firefighters, frontline medical workers, those working with potentially toxic chemicals. These options aren't very practical on a day to day basis for those going about a typical lifestye, and are currently dificult to come by.


If COVID 19 has you concerned (and in our opinion…it should) then please follow CDC masking guidelines like we do! Most recently there is some information out about layering masks, as well as a ton of information about mask fit. Find some of these links here:

HERO likely helps because it only covers the nose-which means it doesn’t gap or shift when you move your mouth as other masks tend to do. Even with a nose wire, proper fit (no gaps around your nose or cheeks) is really hard to achieve with most masks. This means that they may work great to protect others from your respiratory droplets, however, without a tight seal they’re not going to provide much protection to you-air simply flows in through the gaps. Every time you touch your mask to adjust it to get that tight seal also introduces possible contaminants directly onto the thing that is supposed to be protecting you.

In a nutshell-HERO doesn’t cover your mouth! It wasn’t meant to. It was meant to protect you where you’re meant to breathe-your nose. To protect others-pop a high quality mask on top, like we do.

1: Dallam G, McClaran S, Cox D, Foust, C. Effect of Nasal Versus Oral Breathing on Vo2max and Physiological Economy in Recreational Runners Following an Extended Period Spent Using Nasally Restricted Breathing. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science. 2018/04/30. 22 Vol 6. 10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.6n.2p.22.

2: Mangla PK, Menon MP. Effect of nasal and oral breathing on exercise-induced asthma. Clin Allergy. 1981 Sep;11(5):433-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1981.tb01616.x. PMID: 7318162.

3: Lester RA, Hoit JD. Nasal and oral inspiration during natural speech breathing. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2014 Jun 1;57(3):734-42. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2013/13-0096). PMID: 24129013; PMCID: PMC4698965.

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