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How to prevent CPAP mask air leaks

Sleep apnea support Nov, 01 2023

Four ways to ensure your mask is comfortable and sealing effectively

Although CPAP* mask air leaks can be a challenge for some people, it's important to note a certain amount of air leakage is normal to adequately flush out the air you are breathing out.  

However, what you do need to reduce is excessive air leakage, as this can negatively impact the performance of your mask and the treatment you’re receiving.  

Some of the signs of excessive leakage include: 

•    hearing or feeling air leaks above what is intentionally necessary for exhalation
•    drying of the eyes, nose or mouth
•    nasal congestion
•    marks on your face or pain around your nose.

The solution to CPAP mask leak is to have a mask that fits well and is stable. Your mask should be able to withstand movement while providing you with a comfortable and effective seal.

Here are four ways you can make sure your mask is doing just that. 

1.    Fine-tune 

Your mask should be fitted and adjusted as outlined in the user instructions that were provided. Try not to overtighten your mask. It should be worn as loose as possible without excessive leaking. 

Connect your mask to the CPAP device and turn the air on. This may feel strange at first and you may notice some air leaks. Try to breathe naturally. 

Re-adjust the straps around your head. Reposition the mask by pulling it away from your face and resting it back again until the mask seals well and feels comfortable. 

2.    Inspect 

Watch for wear and tear as the mask or parts of the mask may need replacing. 

3.    Check  

Ensure that you are using the right pressure. If you are unsure what that is, consult with your healthcare provider.

4.    Seek advice 

If you are experiencing persistent leaks or discomfort with your mask, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can help provide you with guidance on different seal sizes or mask types. 

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