Using a Face Mask for CPAP Machines
There are different types of CPAP mask styles available for those diagnosed with sleep apnea, and the extent to which CPAP therapy will work for you depends a lot on which kind of mask your provider prescribes you.
The mask is an essential part of overall therapy, so its comfort and fit is essential for delivering the air from the machine directly to your airways. That’s why you must learn how to wear CPAP masks. The different types of CPAP mask styles available will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible and receiving the proper treatment.
Types of CPAP Masks
There are three main CPAP mask styles and some less common styles, all of which are typically available in different sizes. Some providers also offer “for her” versions designed specifically to fit the contours of a woman’s face and head.
Common CPAP Mask Styles
Nasal Masks: These offer a lighter fit than a full face or nasal pillow mask. As the name implies, the mask fits only over your nose.
Nasal Pillow Masks: These are the most lightweight and minimal face mask options and offer a high level of visibility and openness.
Full Face Masks: These cover both your nose and your mouth.
Less Common CPAP Mask Styles
- Total Face Masks: These cover the entire face.
- Oral Masks: These cover the mouth only.
- Hybrid Masks: These offer various combinations of the previously mentioned styles.
You will likely prefer a lighter, more minimal mask over a larger, heavier-duty option. Ultimately, the type of CPAP mask you end up with will depend on a few other factors, such as:
- Masks that cover more of your face are less prone to leaking
- Patients with facial hair often require a larger mask to achieve a better seal
- Claustrophobic users will need a smaller mask to feel comfortable
It usually comes down to personal preference and how a particular mask style will fit your face’s contours. Fortunately, in any case, your provider will happily assist you in trying on the various types and help you determine which one will offer the best, most comfortable, and effective treatment experience for you.
How to Wear CPAP Masks
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or another disorder and are using a CPAP device, you should be using your mask every night. The best way to ensure this happens is to make sure your mask is as snug and comfortable on your face as possible.
The number one challenge for patients using CPAP therapy is adjusting to wearing the mask while sleeping. The number two challenge is finding exactly the right style and fit for each individual face shape, so the patient feels comfortable wearing the mask at night without fear of leaks or shifts and keeping it on all night long.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to wear CPAP masks:
- Step 1: Test the comfort and overall fit of the mask.
- Step 2: Make sure the mask is placed correctly on the bridge of your nose and straps are adjusted to secure the position.
- Step 3: Move around and test out the fit in various positions, just as you would move throughout the night.
- Step 4: Connect the mask to your CPAP machine, turn it on, and repeat step three to ensure there are no leaks.
If you find you’re having trouble with your current CPAP mask style or struggling to adjust, it may be time to consult your sleep specialist and test out a new fit! You can also browse around our new and improved Valley Sleep Therapy website for machines, masks, and other supplies!