Having a nicely fitting CPAP mask, along with a machine that delivers the appropriate pressure without too much noise are the essentials for effective CPAP therapy.
CPAP masks can be separated into 3 different categories:
- Nasal: masks that go over the nose
- Pillow: masks that form a seal with the nostrils
- Full Face: masks that form a seal covering both the nose and the mouth
For people that are new to CPAP, we strongly recommend trialling masks before committing to one long term. Personally, I do my best to help people get used to nasal masks as they are often smaller, require less pressure and have less margin for error. In saying that, a nasal nasal mask isn’t for everybody. It will take often a week or more to determine which mask suits you best.
Through our trials we will send patients home with one of each so they have an opportunity to test it out in the comfort of their own home. Trying to sleep with the mask on is the real test – not lying down in a clinical room with pressure to make a decision quickly.
With people that have been using CPAP for a longer period of time, they will generally have preference as to whether they prefer nasal, pillow or full face. With the quality of the newer masks that have been released, we are confident we can get a seal for people based on previous mask used and in some cases, simply by looking at a photo of your face. It has been rare that people have ordered the wrong size mask, but in these instances, within fair timeframes, we have been able to change the cushion size over at no extra cost.
CPAP: Full face mask or nasal mask?
Some longer terms users want to try a different type of mask from time to time. For example, where our clinic is, previous providers have strongly encouraged using full face masks without ever being exposed to a nasal mask. We have found that it can take people time to adjust to a different type of mask, but by no means would we say it is impossible. If you want to try a different type of mask out, this option is available and we are happy to talk you through it.
All CPAP masks are compatible with the different brands of CPAP machine. This is a common question asked of us by people buying a new model mask for the first time. What you may find from time to time is that a connection part of an older mask may still be in your CPAP tubing which is hindering your ability to connect the new mask.
CPAP: Will my new mask fit my current CPAP tubing?
In terms of putting your mask on, the simplest method of putting all masks on is:
1) Hold the mask where it will sit on your face
2) Then attach the headgear
If you are having trouble putting your mask on, let me know and I will make a video demonstrating some things to consider.
CPAP masks will continue to be developed. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the latest mask developments. Also of note, it is important to know that if you love your current mask, you can always buy replacement parts, which will make the purchase a lot cheaper.