FAQs: how should I choose a mask?
You'll enjoy a better therapy experience with the right mask. But how can you choose the best option among the many styles and sizes of mask available? We've provided answers to some commonly asked questions below. We recommend you also ask your equipment supplier or sleep physician for expert advice.
What types of mask are available? What's the difference between them?
There are three main types of mask: full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows.
Full face masks cover the nose and mouth, making them the best choice if you breathe through your mouth.
Nasal masks cover your nose. They are smaller and lighter than full face masks but provide more coverage than nasal pillows.
Nasal pillows rest below your nose, at the entrance of your nostrils. They are the most streamlined option, provide a clear field of vision, and can easily be worn with glasses.
How can I tell which style of mask is best for me?
The mask type that suits you will depend greatly on personal needs and preferences. We recommend asking your doctor or equipment supplier for advice, and trying on masks in various styles to see which is most comfortable. It's important to choose a mask that's comfortable to ensure regular use.
When you're choosing a mask, you might want to:
- Think about your facial anatomy, your facial hair, whether or not you wear glasses or are claustrophobic, whether you like to read or watch television while wearing your mask, etc.
- Talk to other mask users.
- Read mask reviews online.
Remember to choose a full face mask if you tend to breathe through your mouth.
What are the benefits of using a full face mask?
Full face masks are generally recommended for people who breathe through their mouth. Even if you don't breathe through your mouth, you might still experience mouth leaks if you use a nasal mask. Mouth leaks can lead to less effective treatment and renewed sleep apnoea symptoms.
Can I use a full face mask with bilevel treatment?
Yes, absolutely. A recent study1 shows that people who are using bilevel therapy are prone to mouth leak and mouth breathing. Mouth leak reduces the quality of your sleep and causes arousals throughout the night. Wearing a full face mask can resolve these problems.
I normally use a nasal mask. Can I use a full face mask when I have a cold?
Yes, you should use a full face mask if your nose is congested and you are likely to breathe through your mouth.
Because every mask has slightly different characteristics, you should always refer to the mask/device compatibility list when you change masks. You should change the mask settings on your device as required. For example, if you're using an AutoSet™ or VPAP™ series device, you will need to change the mask setting on the user menu when you switch masks. When you change masks on the VPAP adapt device, you will also need to 'Learn Circuit'.
Will switching between different types of mask impair my therapy?
If you have any concerns about the efficacy of your therapy, you should ask your physician for guidance.
Can I use a ResMed mask with a CPAP device from another manufacturer?
ResMed masks can be used with non-ResMed CPAP, APAP or bilevel devices that have compatible specifications. Your clinician or equipment supplier will be able to tell you whether or not the technical specifications of your mask are compatible with the non-ResMed device you're considering.
Using your mask with an incompatible device will reduce the comfort and efficacy of your therapy and could even result in serious injury. Please always ask your equipment supplier or sleep physician for advice before making changes to your equipment or therapy.
I worry that I might be allergic to a mask. What should I do?
Our mask cushions are made from silicone, which is a hypoallergenic material used in medical appliances and devices. True allergic reactions to silicone are extremely rare. Some people do experience skin irritation, pressure sores or blisters when they wear a mask, but these are usually caused by something else.
If you experience soreness or irritation, it might be that:
- Your headgear is too loose or too tight. Try readjusting the straps: the mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal.
- Your mask doesn't fit well because the style isn't suitable or the mask is the wrong size. Read your mask user guide for advice on fitting, or ask your physician for recommendations on other models and styles.
- Your mask is worn out. Inspect the mask cushion and frame for signs of wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks and replace any parts that are not in good condition.
- Your mask is dirty: silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from your skin and extended contact with these contaminants can irritate the skin. You should wash your mask daily according to the instructions in your user guide. You should also wash your face before bed with a pH neutral soap and avoid using facial lotions and creams where your mask comes into contact with your face, as these products may interfere with mask seal and potentially degrade the quality of the cushion over time.
If your skin is sensitive or irritated, place some porous hypoallergenic skin tape (ask your local pharmacy) over those areas to create a barrier between the skin and the mask. If skin irritation problems persist you should consult a doctor.
CPAP treatment can cause nasal irritation: constant air flow, especially at high treatment pressures, can lead to dryness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds. Humidifiers provide relief from nasal irritation and dryness by adding warmth and moisture to the air delivered by the CPAP or bilevel system. Most pharmacies sell nasal oil products to help treat and prevent dryness.
It's easy to download the user guide for your mask. Choose your mask from the devices listed here, click on the “Support” button on that page, then go to the 'Download' section