Getting a proper CPAP mask is one of the most vital parts of your therapy. To effectively treat sleep apnea, you’ll need to wear your mask every single night, and it’s much easier to consistently treat the condition if your therapy is comfortable and hygienic. Thus, while a CPAP machine may be more expensive, the success and quality of your CPAP treatment depends on your relationship with your CPAP mask. If you dislike your bulky and uncomfortable mask, you may take your mask off at night or voluntarily stop treatment. The key to compliant therapy is an ergonomic and comfortable mask and to help you find the right fit for you, we’ve put together a set of questions you should ask yourself before buying a new mask. Let’s jump in!
What kind of mask would you like?
There are three types of CPAP masks: nasal, nasal pillow, and full face cpap mask. Each mask is slightly different, and the primary difference new CPAP patients notice is how each type touches the face. The nasal mask rests on the outside of the nose, while the nasal pillow touches only the nares, and the full face surrounds both your nose and mouth. For patients who strongly dislike the feeling of their mask, the nasal pillow’s lightweight design and small cushion surface may be ideal. If you toss and turn at night though, you may need the more robust and durable full face frame. For patients looking for a happy medium, many find that the nasal mask balances comfort with a tight-fitting seal.
Do you wear facial hair?
If you do, you may have trouble keeping a lasting seal with a nasal or full face mask: these masks require facial contact points above your upper lip, and facial hair can disturb the cushion’s grip. For patients who want to sport a mustache, you will either need to try a nasal pillow mask – which only touches the area around your nostrils – or substantially trim your facial hair.
Do you like to read or watch television before bed?
Many people like to read or watch television before drifting off to sleep. If that describes you, you’ll want to choose a mask that doesn’t have part of the frame running down your nasal bridge. Masks featuring headgear with forehead contact points generally connect to the cushion via a plastic extension that rests against your nasal bridge. While this plastic is generally small and not uncomfortable, it can slightly interfere with your vision, which some patients may find aggravating.
How important is a lightweight mask frame?
Patients who toss and turn all night long may not be suited to the lightest CPAP masks available, as the constant movement may dislodge masks without enough bulk to stay in place. For everyone else though, light masks are generally the way to go. These masks put minimal pressure on facial contact points and can be applied quickly and easily. If you’re looking for a light mask, it’s hard to do better than the AirFit series, which features a nasal mask, nasal pillow design, and a full face mask.