CPAP Therapy Treatment and Tips

How to stop your CPAP mask from leaking

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If you are a CPAP user, then there is a good chance that you have experienced leakage coming from your mask at some point in time. Not only can this potentially impact the results of your therapy, but it can also be quite loud and can cause you (or your partner!) to wake up during the night.

Mask leak refers to an excessive amount of unwanted air coming from your mask. It is commonly characterised by a loud hissing noise and can generally be resolved by adjusting your mask properly.

Keep in mind that this is not always the case!

The last thing you want while you try and sleep is to be woken up to the sound of a leaking mask - we know, it’s not fun at all. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to prevent your CPAP mask from leaking while you are on CPAP therapy.

So without further ado, here is our list of ways to prevent mask leak.

3 Ways to Help Prevent Mask Leak

Make sure you have the right-sized mask

It can sometimes be a little tricky to figure out if you have the right-sized mask. A good mask fit means that the mask pillow or nasal prongs still comfortably on your face and covers all of the right regions. Furthermore, the mask headgear should fit snug over your head and shouldn’t be too tight, or too loose.

Here are a few tips you can use to make sure you have the correct mask size:

  • Use a mask-fitting template: If you are unsure about what size cushion is most suitable for you then use a mask-fitting template. All you need to do is find out what mask you are using (or want to use), print off the correct template, and then hold it up to your face in front of the mirror. This will give you a good idea of what size cushion would suit your face the best.
  • Make sure the mask is on the correct way: Some people may not be putting the mask on the correct way, which may cause you to think that the mask is not the right size. Double-check to make sure that the mask cushion is orientated correctly before looking at different sizes.
  • Try the mask on first before purchasing: Many ResMed stores across Australia allow customers to come into their clinic to talk one-on-one to one of our fantastic sleep coaches. During the consultation, you will be able to discuss what size mask may be the most appropriate for you and even try on the mask for yourself. Click here to find the closest store.
  • Lie down with your mask on: For some people, you may find that your mask fits differently standing up compared to when you are lying down. It is always a good idea to try your mask on while lying down first to get a good idea of how the mask is going to fit during the night.

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Make sure you are cleaning your mask regularly

If you are experiencing difficulties with mask leakage after a prolonged amount of time, then you may need to check how regularly you are cleaning your mask.

Here are a few guidelines to help you out with your CPAP mask cleaning regime:

  • Wash your mask cushion or nasal pillows each morning: It is recommended that you wash the cushion of your mask, or nasal pillows, each morning to ensure that the material does not deteriorate and that no dirt or facial oils are causing any unwanted leakage. We recommend using a very mild soap or baby shampoo to clean these components for optimal efficiency.
  • Wash your entire mask once a week: It is recommended that you disassemble and wash your entire mask once a week with dishwashing liquid and warm water to increase the longevity of your mask and to prevent unwanted leakage.

You may be experiencing mouth leak

If you are using a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask and your CPAP machine is telling you that there is a high amount of leakage, then you may be experiencing something known as mouth leakage. This is caused by air escaping through your mouth during the night and can lead to dryness of the mouth and unwanted noise.

Here are a few different tips to help with mouth leakage:

  • Wear a chin strap: You may want to try using a chin strap, which will help keep your mouth closed during the night and prevent any air from escaping from your mouth. Chin straps come in many different shapes and sizes to help give you the best comfort levels possible.
  • Try using a full-face mask instead: If you find it difficult to keep your lips sealed during the night then you may want to try using a full-face mask. Using a full-face mask will help remove the problem of unwanted air escaping from your mouth. Keep in mind that full-face masks are generally a bit bigger than nasal or nasal pillow masks.

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When should you replace your CPAP mask?

If you have had your mask for a while then you may be wondering, ‘when is a good time to replace it with another mask?’. There is not really any right or wrong answer when it comes to knowing when to replace your mask. It varies with how often you use your mask and other factors such as how often you clean your mask.

In general, it is recommended that you should look to replace your mask every year to year-and-a-half. This will help ensure that your mask remains in good condition and that all parts are working correctly.

You may find that a newer model of your mask has been released when you are looking to replace your current CPAP mask. This mask may be an upgrade to your current model in terms of comfort and design, so it is worth considering it.

Thank you for having a read through our article, we hope the information written in this article helps resolve any issues you are having with mask leak, and when you should be looking to replace your current CPAP mask with a new one.

If you need any further information, or you would like to book a time to see one of our sleep coaches across Australia, then give us a call on 1800 737 633 and we would be more than willing to help you out.

Until next time, sleep well.

Michael Dunn

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