Posted on May 06 2020
The burning question on everyone’s lips! The simple answer is that covering the mouth would decrease Nosy’s effectiveness in providing overall protection against air pollution.
When creating Nosy, we set out to design a wearable air filter that would provide the most benefit to the user. To do so, we needed to make Nosy comfortable to be worn for prolonged periods of time.
“The best way for you to think about this is through an analogy: the goal of Nosy is to be like sunglasses or noise cancelling headphones for your nose - not blinders or earmuffs.” - Carina Cunha, Nosy Founder & CEO
The single biggest challenge with face masks is in fact, mouth coverage.
(There are so many more issues with them, like hair getting tangled, the masks slipping off, overheating and having to take them on and off to socialise or eat).Face masks with mouth coverage create a hot and moist pocket of air, making breathing uncomfortable. If you’ve ever worn a mask, you will have experienced this.
The best breathing organ that you will ever have - bar none - is your Nose. With millions of years of evolution under its belt; it's the perfect design! It humidifies air, protects you from infections and is a vital part of your respiratory system.
Considering the importance of the nose in breathing health, we knew that we needed a design that would encourage nose breathing. This was our Step 1.
How do we create a product with prolonged wearability and actual effectiveness? For face masks to be effective, they need to have zero air leakage. In order to avoid air leakage, they need to be worn extremely tightly which hurts your skin and also is asphyxiating.
Any mask that is not uncomfortable to wear over prolonged periods of time, will suffer from air leakage. It is just physics 101 - air flows through the path of least resistance. So without an uncomfortably tight seal air will be flowing through the gaps around your face and not the filter.
That brings us to Step 2. should we design something that is completely air tight that can be worn for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day or should we create a design that can be worn all day long?
We obviously chose the latter.
Now to Step 3. what about mouth-breathing?
Most people breathe through their nose not mouth, but even if you were not breathe through your mouth 5-10% of time (which is extremely rare), you would end up inhaling a lot less pollution from wearing a Nosy for several hours everyday, rather than just putting on your N95 respirator when pollution is dire outside.
What's more is that breathing through your nose is associated with a number of health benefits including:
+ “Nose breathing Helps Fight Infections” - Scientific American
+ “Nose breathing Reduces Stress and Anxiety” - Mayo Clinic
+ “Nose breathing ensures Better Blood Flow and Lung Volumes” - Lancet Journal
+ “Nose breathing helps in Better Brain Functions” - International Journal of Neuroscience
+ “Nose breathing reduces Sleeping Disorders, ADHD, and Fatigue” – Neuroreport
+ “Nose breathing Helps During Your Workouts” - International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science
All of these together helped us make the decision to not just exclude mouth coverage in a Nosy, but to even start the project in of redesign anti-pollution masks in of itself!