CPAP Mask Problems – 9 Common Problems Solved

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1. How do I get used to wearing a CPAP mask – it just feels so weird on my face?

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Yes, at first wearing a CPAP mask will feel a little strange. Why is this thing on my face? Get it off! However, once you are accustomed to wearing it, it won’t feel so strange – in fact, you might even like it. In order to get to this point, though, you need to take a few small steps. For one, try wearing the mask during the day – when you aren’t about to snuggle up in bed. Sometimes simply wearing the mask while you are cooking, watching television or playing a game of backgammon can help you get used to wearing it at night. Moreover, the less you wear the mask, the harder it will be to get used to it.

2. How do I avoid feeling claustrophobic while wearing my CPAP mask?

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For those sufferers of sleep apnea and claustrophobia, wearing a CPAP mask can have its unique disadvantages – at first. In the beginning you might feel a little trapped or claustrophobic wearing your mask. Don’t worry – this is quite a common feeling. This is also a problem that you can very easily overcome. Try a mask that offers a clear field of vision. Any of the masks in the new AirFit line by ResMed are a great choice.

3. How do I get used to the feeling of pressurized air?

Having pressurized air forced into your respiratory tract is not a feeling people are very used to – just try doing a summersault in a pool. Luckily, many of today’s CPAP machines have a feature that allows you to change the force of the pressure, so that you can start off slow while you are falling asleep – then the pressure will increase by the time you are fast asleep. If you look in your CPAP machine’s manual, find out how to use the “ramp” feature. For some patients, it takes a little while to get used to the feeling of pressurized air, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

4. How do I know what size mask to order?

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The last thing you want when you wear your CPAP mask is to feel like the Man in the Iron Mask . Fortunately, there are a plethora of options when it comes to different sizes and different types of CPAP masks. Most masks make is easy and have a sizing guide. On EasyBreathe.com you can find the sizing guide under the additional information tab on the mask page. You can also look for “Fit Packs.” They comes with multiple sizes so  you have options. Did you know that all nasal pillow masks come with multiple sizes when you buy them with a prescription? Nasal pillow masks are great options and you can determine the size through an easy trial and error process. If you aren’t sure where to start, try our Easy Mask Finder. There is a very good chance that you will find a mask that fits like a glove – you just have to do your due diligence first.

 5. How do I deal with the noise – it’s really getting on my nerves and my partner’s nerves?

These days, CPAP machines are much quieter than they used to be. However, noise is a very personal factor when it comes to what is tolerable and what is not. Click here to read about all of our whisper quiet models. These masks are the quietest available. If the noise is still bothering you, you might want to see if there is something wrong with your CPAP machine – maybe the humidifier needs to be filled with water or perhaps the air filter needs to be changed. If all else fails, try wearing some of those bright orange earplugs that hunters use – that should do the trick.

6. Why is my nose so dry?

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Why is it so stuffy? Sometimes people complain about having a dry or stuffy nose as a result of wearing a CPAP mask, which is never any fun. Doctors recommend that you use the heated humidifier function on the CPAP machine to raise the humidity levels. Oftentimes, if the humidity levels are too low, your mucous membranes can basically go on strike. If using the heated humidifier doesn’t work, doctors recommend using a saline spray right before you go to bed. If it is really, really bad, you should ask your doctor about using a steroid nasal spray. Remember, it isn’t the mask’s fault, it’s just the way your body is responding to the CPAP treatment. If all else fails, you may need to adjust the mask or find a mask that fits a little better, because it could be that there is too much air leaking from the mask, which could cause your nose to get pretty stuffy.

7. Why is my mask irritating my skin and eyes?

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One of the most common mistakes CPAP users mask, is over tightening their CPAP mask, which leads to marks. Try loosening the straps and bit and let the mask form a seal when the air starts to flow. Alternatively, you can also try mask liners. These thin cotton liners protect your face from the plastic. Or, if your headgear/straps are the culprit, try comfort pads. These fabric pads attach to your headgear with Velcro, protecting your skin and increasing your comfort. For some CPAP users, the hair is the biggest issue. Their mask messes up their hairdo by leaving impressions that won’t go away or causing bald spots. If that sounds familiar, try the Swift Fx Bella nasal pillow mask that simply loops around the ears. Little tweaks to your CPAP therapy can mean big improvements. Wearing a CPAP mask should feel pretty comfortable and you shouldn’t have to deal with any irritation.

8. Why is my mouth so dry?

Chances are that you sleep with your mouth open – don’t worry, a lot of us do it. CPAP treatment can already cause slight dry mouth, but if you sleep with your mouth wide open, it can seriously exacerbate the problem. In this case, you might benefit from getting a chin strap if you use a nasal mask. If that doesn’t work, perhaps it is time to make an upgrade to a full-face mask, which can keep your mouth closed for most of the night. If all else fails, you might need to make an even further upgrade to a heated humidifier, like the AirSense 10 by ResMed.

9. How do I avoid taking the CPAP mask off when I sleep?

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Waking up with your CPAP machine tangled in the sheets, and not on your face, is a common occurrence among sufferers of sleep apnea. If you move around a lot in your sleep, it could be that you yourself are actually taking the mask off. There are a number of ways to avoid this problem. For one, you could use a humidifier, which can make wearing the mask a lot more comfortable.  And if you really thrash around in your sleep, you may benefit from a full face mask, which will be a little harder to remove.

It may take a few days, it may take a week, or it may take three months, but soon enough you will adapt to wearing a CPAP mask. Moreover, it may also take a little while to find the perfect fit and the perfect way to sleep soundly while wearing the mask. Just like you’ve had to adapt to life with sleep apnea, you will soon enough adapt to wearing a CPAP mask. It is also important to remember that wearing your mask is critical to alleviating and minimizing all the complications that come with having obstructive sleep apnea, like extreme daytime fatigue, serious heart conditions and more. Simply focus on the all the positive things that come with CPAP therapy and it may be easier to adapt. Like an arranged marriage, your CPAP mask might not be the most ideal bed partner, but soon enough you’ll grow to love it.

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