CPAP masks are a crucial component in CPAP therapy; they administer the pressurized air into the respiratory tract, allowing airflow and relieving apnea symptoms. An ill-fitting CPAP mask however, can not only be incapable of doing its job, but cause discomfort as well.
That is why it is essential to spend time upfront to poke around and find the mask that suits your face and overall needs before making a purchase.
Happily, there is a plethora of mask models to choose from: nasal, full-face, nasal pillow, nasal prong, hybrid, oral, total face, and lip-seal, which means there’s a right one for you. The perfect mask is a very personal choice, but there are key features that will help you guide you to the best fit.
The first step to narrowing down your mask choices is identifying how you breathe at night. If you’re a mouth breather, a nasal mask isn’t going to do you much good. Nasal, oral, and hybrid/full face are the three common mask administration methods. If you don’t know your breathing method, record yourself sleeping and you’ll have the answer in the morning.
Type of attachment (headgear)
The attachment methods, like the masks themselves, are very diverse. First, identify what direction you prefer the tube: extending towards your chest, over your nose, or alongside your head.
Second, identify what strap combination is most comfortable. There are one, two, or three-strap options; the straps can extend around the neck, over the crown of the head, around the forehead, and with various combinations. Chin straps are also available to prevent mouth breathing.
Then, decide the attachment device: Velcro, clips, buckles, or elastic (no fasteners or clips).
The body and tube of the mask are typically made out of plastic and silicone though may have latex materials. The cushion that comes into contact with your face can be made out of either gel or silicone. Make sure you don’t have any skin allergies that may be trigger by these materials. Cloth liners can also be added to improve the mask seal and prevent skin irritation.
Once you’ve selected these primary features, there are many other options that can further specialize your mask for your needs, taking into account factors such as claustrophobia, facial hair, glasses (for day use), and active sleepers.
Depending on the model, CPAP masks are reasonable priced, ranging from $30 to $200 USD. It would still be a good idea though, to contact your doctor to see if a CPAP unit is covered by your insurance.
To get more information about CPAP masks, prices, and features, contact a CPAP mask customer’s service representative either in a store, by phone, or online.
If you’re shopping for a new mask, keep in mind that pressure settings may feel different depending on the mask type. It may take some testing to find the right pressure with a new mask.
Now that you’re able to select your mask, check out our article on CPAP machines and finding the right one.