What is the right mask for me?
Everyone’s style of breathing and the shape of their face is different. Sometimes it can take some time to find the right mask. This is why we offer mask rentals at our clinic locations to give you a chance to “try before you buy” as well as to get expert advice on the right mask type, size and fitting technique designed just for you (bookings preferred).
If you are new to CPAP therapy you may not have heard the term ‘air leak’, however, it is an important factor when optimizing sleep apnea control and comfort. This is because CPAP works by using pressurized air to splint the airways open and when excessive air leaks (usually from the mask or mouth) the open circuit may reduce the overall pressure of air reaching the site of obstruction and no longer be able to splint the airways correctly. Air leak will be reduced if you are using the correct mask set-up and size. If you discuss with anyone who already uses CPAP, they will also tell you that air leaks can be noisy and annoying at night.
In addition to reducing leak there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right mask for you.
Style: Each mask type (Pillows, Nasal and Full Face) are slightly different, however, an optimal seal on your mask will maximise your therapy adherence as well as reduce leakage.
Comfort: By using a mask that contours to your face shape and with headgear that you find supportive you will find it easier to get off to and stay asleep. There is no point purchasing a mask which is uncomfortable and you will not wear.
Ease of Use: The set-up, cleaning and adjustment of each mask will be slightly different and it is important to make sure that this suits your situation and lifestyle.
Nasal Masks come in a range of types but consist of a cushion sealing over the nose (rather than in the nostrils like the nasal pillows) and headgear which can range from very minimal to more supportive. Due to the extra strapping found on a nasal mask they create a good and supportive seal on the face.
These are a great option if you:
- Don’t breathe through your mouth
- Don’t suffer from a consistent blocked nose or sinus issues
- Don’t like the idea or feeling of something in your nostrils.
- Move at night and need more supportive headgear
- Are unable to get a good seal on a pillows mask
As a rule, if you breathe through your mouth at night then a pillows or nasal mask may not be suitable without the use of a chinstrap to assist your mouth from opening. For more information on chinstraps [click here]. Another option is to use a full face mask.