At CPAPMan, our customers frequently ask us about CPAP chinstrap
s: what do they do, why are they prescribed, and whether chin straps are right for them. Like with so many CPAP accessories and supplies, chin straps aren’t suitable for every patient. Many CPAP users, however, find that CPAP chinstraps can help improve the results of their therapy without introducing unnecessary discomfort (many even find them comfortable). Others find that chin straps help reduce or eliminate some of the unwanted side effects commonly associated with sleep apnea therapy. Let’s dig into chin straps a little more.
First, let’s talk about what they do. The chin strap is predominately intended to help keep your mouth closed while you sleep. To prevent air from leaking, the strap will make it harder for your lower jaw to relax and expand while you sleep, which will help keep your mask in place and your seal protected. Many patients find that their jaw relaxes when they sleep, and this problem is sometimes exacerbated by CPAP, which can make the mouth puff open even more than normal. When the mouth relaxes and opens, most of the air will flow out of the mouth, mitigating much of the benefit of CPAP. The strap helps to keep your jaw and mouth in place.
You might now be wondering if the chin strap is for you. Well, if you use a full face or a nasal mask, and you have any problems with leaks, it just might be! Chin straps can help keep both of these mask types in place without requiring a new CPAP mask or constant mask adjustments throughout the night. Patients with a nasal pillow mask or an oral cpap mask
will likely derive less therapeutic benefits than others, as these are less bulky and less compatible with chin straps.
You might also need a strap if you snore during CPAP therapy – this would indicate that your mouth is opening significantly while you wear your CPAP, which you definitely don’t want. Finally, even if you aren’t snoring and your therapy is going well, if you wake up with dry mouth or a sore throat, you may want to use the chin strap to ensure your mouth stays closed. These side effects stem directly from an open mouth during CPAP therapy and can be eliminated by a CPAP chinstrap.
Putting on the strap is a breeze. Simply place it under your chin and position the backstrap comfortably on your head and around your ears. Virtually every chin strap will come with soft fabric that won’t brush uncomfortably against your face, so the benefits of the chin strap won’t be mitigated by damaging side effects. Virtually all straps are one size fits all and are made of a flexible or stretchable material, so you won’t have any trouble finding one to fit your facial structure. Additionally, all of the popular CPAP manufacturers – including ResMed and Respironics — make chin straps compatible with their masks, so you can be assured of a tight fit.
For many people, a chin strap has made a big difference in the quality of their CPAP therapy. Could a strap do the same for you?