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Despite their generally mild impact, what’s more annoying than having the hiccups? That’s right: nothing.
Well, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who experience random episodes of this soul-killing throat spasm, then you can take heart in knowing that there may be a solution on the horizon.
According to scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, a newly developed device may be the answer. Testing is underway on a device called “FISST” which stands for "forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool." Despite the technical name, here’s the spoiler alert: it’s basically a fancy drinking straw.
FISST is constructed with a rigid material. It has an angled mouthpiece at the top and a pressure valve at the bottom. Users are instructed to place the device in a glass of water, suck in the water and swallow.
According to a report in New Atlas, this action is said to “stimulate the phrenic and vagus nerves, cause the diaphragm muscle to contract, and cause the epiglottis in the throat to close. All of these factors reportedly combine to cease the hiccup-causing spasms.”
In testing, the FISST process reportedly stopped 92% of hiccuping episodes. The device even has a lever that changes the opening size, making it more appropriate for a child to use.
Research suggests that there are a rare number of people who experience chronic hiccuping episodes, and it’s more likely to occur in those who have undergone recent anesthesia or who suffer from anxiety. Luckily, while FISST testing continues, it’s actually commercially available under the brand “HiccAway” for a mere $14. For folks with a chronic hiccup, that’s likely a very small price to pay for relief.