How to Choose a CPAP Mask?

15 Tips for buying a good CPAP mask

If you're struggling to choose a CPAP mask that works without leaks and it's sitting comfortable on your face, this article can help you.

The next 15 tips will make you aware of some important issues that need to be considered when you're out there, in the field, buying a CPAP mask from a Durable Medical Equipment supplier.

So, before rushing in searching for a good CPAP mask, consider the following:

Tips to Help Choosing a Good CPAP Mask

CPAP Mask Comfort - the CPAP mask has to be comfortable and to provide a proper seal for the airflow.

Mask Style - the style, the size (small, medium, etc) and the fit (does the mask seal over your mouth, nose, or both?) of the CPAP mask is a personal need and preference, and you have to try many masks to see which one is for you.

Mask Size - Large CPAP masks tend to leak more easily than smaller ones, so if you are in doubt, select the smaller option.

Quick Release - Some CPAP masks have quick-release clips attached to the straps in front of the mask or on the side. These clips allow for a quick removal of the mask, which is very helpful if you have CPAP claustrophobia.

DME Policies - Find out what DME (Durable Medical Equipment supplier, the place where you get your CPAP and masks) stores your insurance covers. Call the stores and ask if they have a mask exchange policy.

Most of the mask manufacturers allow a 30 day return/ exchange. Confirm this is something the DME you choose participates in.

Collect Your Mask in the Shop - When it comes the time to get your equipment, request from your DME that you go into their place of business.

Try the CPAP Mask in DME shop - Try on several masks (don't hurry) you HAVE to try them with the machine running on your scripted pressure and you need to be laying down in your typical sleeping position.

Not Too Tight - The CPAP mask has adjustable straps to hold the mask on your face. If your straps are too loose, you will have air leaks, which you definitely have to avoid. However, if your straps are too tight, you can break the seal and create other air leaks and also discomfort from the pressure.

Choose a Useful CPAP Mask - Do NOT choose a mask for looks, but one that does the best job for your needs - the least likely to have leaks and comfort.

CPAP Mask for Sleep Study - During the sleep study, choose the mask that will do the job the best. The sleep technician will help you.

Comfort is a Priority - When buying shoes, if they are not comfortable in the store, they will not be comfortable later on. Same thing with the mask. You won't be stuck with something you can't tolerate.

When you first get your equipment set up, make sure to have a good long talk with the DME who does it. Hopefully, they'll bring several masks for you to try, so you can get a feel for how they work for you.

Do not let the DME leave you with a mask that is uncomfortable and/or leaky. If it's not good when they are right there with you, believe me when I say it certainly won't be any better in the middle of the night when you're trying to sleep with the thing.

Best Way to Test the Mask in DME Shop - Make sure to try them at your full pressure, whatever that turns out to be, and lying down if possible, since masks will fit differently in your sleep position than they do when you're standing.

Also, it's better to get a mask/interface that works with the way you sleep, than to try to change the way you sleep to work with the mask. If the mask you have doesn't work with the way you sleep, you have the wrong mask.

The Return Policy - Check with your DME to be sure, but most have a 30 day return policy, if the mask doesn't work for you.

Working Together with DME, But Be Careful - Some DMEs are not quite that patient, but they should be willing to work with you to find what is best. It's in their best interest to do so - they do not want to lose business, and do not want patients complaining about them to doctors, as that is bad for business, too.

Your DME probably doesn't want to provide you with a wide range of choices, because it costs them money. The insurance pays them with a set amount of money for an interface whether they give you a $20 mask or a $120 mask, so they want you to use the cheapest they have.

You have to be very firm, maybe even aggressive with them about what you need.

Some more great pages you might like:

› Choose a CPAP Mask
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