A CPAP mask that fits well is an integral factor in effective CPAP use. The fundamental purpose of CPAP is to treat Sleep Apnea. There are a few ways to gauge the effectiveness of your mask seal, all of them as important as each other.
1) How it feels.
First and foremost you want your CPAP mask to be comfortable. Also, you want to ensure that there is no air escaping where it makes a seal with your skin. If your mask is sealing well against your skin and you are comfortable, you have the key components sorted. It is important to note that air will escape at some part of the mask for exhaust purposes.
As the masks get more modern, they are becoming quieter and quieter. There will always be some noise that comes from your mask, but if you are noticing excessive or annoying noise, this is general indicator that your mask is not sealing as it should be. This can be because:
• You have the wrong size mask
• The strap has not been tightened appropriately
• The cushion has warn out or is damaged
• A part of the mask may not be connected properly or
• Your mouth may be opening.
Every time you clean your mask, it is a good idea to inspect your mask to ensure it is functioning properly and there is no damage.
3) Stats from your machine.
Most CPAP machines nowadays have performance statistics. The key statistic is the AHI and as a general rule we want this below 5. Secondary to this, an important statistic is the leak figure. The ResMed devices will show a happy or sad face. This is determined by keeping the leak statistic below 24 L/min.
We believe the feel and noise components are things that should be considered before the statistics. Your Sleep Physician or Technician will generally be able to change settings to allow you to wear a mask you find comfortable and quite. Generally speaking, find a comfortable, quiet mask and the leak statistics will take care of themselves.