Nasal CPAP Mask Fitting Guide

August 15, 2016 | By Peter Stanza | Filed in: CPAP Advice.

[SIPC_Content]The best way to stop a nasal CPAP mask from leaking is to have it fitting perfectly to your unique nose. However, nasal masks are not custom made for your particular nose. The best thing you can do is to choose a mask that suits you the best, and then make small adjustments to optimize the fit. This guide will take you through the appropriate steps to getting a good mask seal.

Step-by-step fitting guide

    1. When choosing which mask to try, you should look carefully at the following, and whether the masks attributes fit your nose:
    – the length of the mask cushion – do you have a long or short nose (from the bridge of your nose to the bottom)
    – the width of the cushion – at the top (bridge of the nose) and bottom (at the widest point). Remember, it is the inside measurement that is important here. If you have a broad nose, a wider fitting mask may be suitable.
    – do you have a flat, or prominent nasal bridge? – the ‘depth’ of the groove for the nasal bridge, or the masks flexibility over this point may be important here
    – prominent brow? – if the mask has a forehead support, this can affect how well the mask can be adjusted across the nasal bridge

    To help you choose a mask, you may want to check out our 2016 Product Guide and scroll down to the nasal mask section.

    2. Standing or sitting, adjust the headgear so that the mask feels like it is just sitting in place

    3. if a bed is available, lay down on your back. If not, approximations of the following can be performed whilst seated.

    4. Attach the mask to the CPAP machines hose, and turn it on.

    5. Lift the mask off your face, allowing the cushion to fill with air. Let the mask settle onto your face. Adjust the headgear straps so it is comfortable. You should be able to fit two stacked fingers between the strap and your cheek.

    6. If the mask is leaking around your eyes: try lifting the mask from your face slightly, sitting it down slightly lower on the bridge of your nose, and gently sliding it back up the bridge of your nose where it it comfortable. This ‘gathers’ more silicone around the bridge of your nose, and can help seal those pesky leaks around your eyes.

    7. Leaks under your nose can often be stopped by moving the mask side-to-side slightly or twitching your nose (think bewitched) or even making funny faces with your lips (trust me, it works, I’m not just trying to make you make silly faces).

    8. If a bed is available, turn over to one side and make any necessary adjustments to the headgear to stop any mask leaks. This may include slightly tightening the mask to stop it shifting too much when you turn over.

    If a bed isn’t available, try to simulate the side sleeping position by pushing firmly on either side of the mask. Make sure you push firmly, as its surprising how much you and the mask can move in your sleep.

    9. Remember not to tighten the mask too much!! The mask will be on for up to 10 hours a night, and slight discomfort when first putting it on will be exasperated over this longer period.

    If these steps don’t help with the chosen mask; try another one and start from step one.

    10. If you are happy with the mask, try it for a week and reevaluate.

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