Sleep Apnea Mask: Choosing the Right Mask for Your Needs
January 23, 2012Written byFiona Tapp Verified by Medical Review Board 0 Comment
A sleep apnea mask is the most vital component of a sleep apnea machine. A sleep apnea machine provides relief for obstructive sleep apnea.
Why Choosing the Right Sleep Apnea Mask Matters?
Successful Positive Airway Pressure therapy starts with the perfect machine. If you suffer from Sleep Apnea and want effective treatment, then it is vital that you are comfortable with your machine. Treating the disease starts with your health and personal care. Using the right mask for your machine will help you get the most out of your Sleep Apnea PAP machine. Medical professionals can assist you in identifying the most productive Sleep Apnea machine to treat your unique symptoms, but you will have to figure out which mask is right for you through research and experimentation.
What to Look For in Your Sleep Apnea Mask?
Finding the right Sleep Apnea mask device for your product, means knowing what to look for. Trial and error is likely in the beginning, but proper research and planning can save you from spending a lot of time and money. Buying the wrong product can be informative, but people with severe cases of Sleep Apnea don’t have the luxury of time. There are many different factors that change the needs of each apnea patient.
Breathing Habits: Do you breathe through your nose or your mouth? There are masks for nasal breathers, mouth breathers, and people who do both. Knowing which one will make your treatment more effective. If you have a tendency to breathe through your mouth, then a nasal mask is not going to do you much good.
Fit: It is important to make sure that your mask fits snugly around your face or nose so that no air escapes during the night. Air leakage is a serious issue, and too much of it means that the treatment won’t work. Make sure there is contact between your face and all edges of the mask.
Positioning: Whether you sleep on your left side, your right side, or your back, you will be able to find a mask that suits your style. The tubing can be placed on different sides of the mask to make it easier to find comfort when you’re trying to sleep. There is a design to fit your needs.
Tubing Length: Make sure the tube feature on your machine is long enough to support your movement needs during sleep, but beware of getting a tube that’s too long. Excessively long tubing can make it difficult to deliver the pressurized air. The pressure may not be high enough to support the airflow.
Doctor’s Orders: The best way to be prepared is to talk to a medical professional. After thorough questioning and analysis, a doctor will be able to give you suggestions on selecting a CPAP mask. Doctors can help you choose which mask will be most effective and most comfortable. They can also address the masks covered in your insurance policy.
Price: Most apnea masks can be really expensive, especially if you want really high quality. The price depends on the brand and style of the mask, but taking the time to shop around and compare products will help you get more bang for your buck.
The Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea Masks
Full Face Mask: The full face mask fits over and delivers air through the mouth; it is the most effective mask for people who breathe through their mouths. These masks are also beneficial treatments for Sleep Apnea in people who have nasal problems or congestion.
Oral Mask: It is placed in front of the teeth, but behind the lips and does not include nose cushions or forehead pads. The mask is kept in position by a flap on the outside of the mask above the lips.
Nasal Masks: Nasal masks cover the nose. The most popular form is a nasal mask with headgear that wraps around the ear. In addition, you can find a nasal mask without headgear. A Nasal mask delivers the pressurized airflow through the nasal passage of the user. Because this mask sends air through the nose, a chin strap usually comes with a nasal mask to prevent breathing through the mouth during sleep.
Nasal Pillows: Nasal pillows don’t cover your nose or mouth. They are little inserts that go inside the nostrils to deliver the pressurized air directly into the nasal passage. The inserts come attached to headgear so that they are attached directly to the nostrils. Nasal pillows give the face freedom to move and rest comfortably.
Hybrid Masks: The interface of a hybrid mask combines the nasal mask and the facial mask. Hybrid masks may include a nasal pillow, mouth cushion, a built in chin strap, or any combination of the three.
Total Face Masks: Just like the name connotes, a full face mask covers the entire face; it creates a complete seal around the edges of your face, but removes the pressure from your nose mouth and forehead. It covers the entire face even the eyes.
How to Get Comfortable Wearing a Sleep Apnea Mask?
Use Moisturizer: The biggest complaint that patients who use a Sleep Apnea mask report is skin irritation because the mask rubs against the patient’s face. Using moisturizer daily on the affected area can help combat raw skin and rashes. Actually, there are specific CPAP nasal moisturizers to combat discomfort.
Cloth Lining: Some masks have the option of a cloth lining. The cloth lining goes in between your skin and the mask to prevent the mask from rubbing, causing pain, sticking to your skin, or growing bacteria.
Nasal Saline Sprays: The airflow from your Sleep Apnea machine may cause dryness or irritation in your nasal passage. Using saline spray daily can help treat irritation in the nose.
Use Eye Drops: Like the nasal passages, the eyes can easily be irritated by the airflow of PAP machines. Using eye drops will add moisture to your eyes and prevent dryness and discomfort.
Wear During The Day: When you first begin wearing a Sleep Apnea mask, it can be really hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. The new addition to your face can be obtrusive and uncomfortable. Wearing the mask throughout the day can help you get used t feeling of it on your head. Wear for a few short periods of time around the house, practice using it during naps, and then commit to wearing it each and every night.
Ramp: The force of the air pressure exuded from the machine keeps some apnea sufferers awake. Try using a ramp to gradually increase the level of pressure after a short period of low pressure. You follow asleep while the pressure is low, and the gradual increase is slight enough for you to stay asleep.
Ear Plugs: Many patients have trouble sleeping with the sound of a CPAP machine. Try using earplugs to block out the sound. Snoozer’s silicone putty earplugs are recommended.