Here’s a five-point checklist that anyone in CPAP therapy can consider if they’re thinking of changing their current mask or if they’re looking for their first one. Sleep Apnea
From a therapeutic standpoint, this is the most important consideration. Everybody’s face is different, and every CPAP mask is different. It’s important to find a mask that fits and seals correctly onto the face, which will prevent air leakage that can undermine therapy.
Air pressure is the key to the effectiveness of these masks, so any breach caused by a badly fitting mask will reduce the therapeutic quality of CPAP treatment. If there’s any doubt about the fit of a particular mask, ask a knowledgeable professional for guidance.
The comfort of a CPAP mask is paramount in deciding which one to buy. Comfort is differentiated from fit, because a mask can have a perfect fit on a patient’s face and yet create pressure that is distracting and possibly even painful. A good way to understand this is by thinking about how we buy shoes.
The reason so many people end up with uncomfortable shoes is, they don’t experience the fit of a particular pair in the shoe store and ask themselves, “Okay – these feel fine at the moment, but what will they feel like after eight hours?” The same with masks used in CPAP therapy. When you try one on, try to imagine it on your face for eight hours.
If you’ve found a mask you like and that fits well and seems to be comfortable, now you have to look at quality. Anybody can make a CPAP mask and offer it for sale, but some of the cheaper models are badly made and are more likely to cause problems down the line.
When shopping for a mask, look for names that are trusted for reliability and quality. Some of these include Respironics, ResMed, Puritan Bennett, Fisher & Paykel, SleepNet, CareFusion and AG Industries.
The old saying “It pays to buy quality” applies in most cases when purchasing a CPAP mask. More expensive models cost what they do because of the workmanship, technology and time that has gone into producing them. You don’t necessarily need a top of the line model, but you do need one that you can count on night after night for performance.
A final thing to consider is if parts to the mask are readily available – or available at all. In most cases, you can find any replacement parts you might need, but it may be inconvenient to do so. Ideally, CPAP patients should connect with one good supplier of CPAP equipment and parts who can fill their orders quickly with available products.
So follow these guidelines in choosing your next CPAP mask, and you’ll be taking steps to ensure that you’ll end up with a mask that you’ll like and that lasts a long time.