FAQs: how do I make sure my patient's mask fits properly?
A mask that fits well is more comfortable, easier to wear, and provides better therapy. The user guide for each style of ResMed mask provides instructions on fitting. We've also provided answers to some frequently asked questions below. We hope you find them useful.
What's the correct way to fit a mask?
You should help your patients to fit their masks properly before they start treatment. Use the complete fitting instructions contained in the mask user guide. Factors that affect the fit include:
- Position. The fit of a mask depends a great deal on position: a mask that fits well when your patient is sitting up might not fit so well when lying down. This is because our facial muscles change when we lie down and relax even further when we're asleep. It's always best to fit masks while your patients are in their usual sleeping position, whether they sleep in a bed with no pillows or in a recliner.
- Size. If your patient can only get a good seal by tightening the mask until it’s uncomfortable, then the size of the mask may be wrong. Please note that sizing across different models of mask is not always the same.
- Headgear. Your patient's mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. If the patient feels the headgear strap is too loose or too tight, try re-adjusting it or replacing the headgear if it is old or worn out.
- MicroFit™ Dial. If your patient is using a ResMed mask that has a MicroFit™ Dial, make sure the dial is set at the optimal position. Making significant adjustments to the position of the dial will change the fit and might result in discomfort or less effective treatment.
We have provided the fitting guidelines for some of our most popular masks at the bottom of this page. If you experience difficulties in fitting your patient's mask, please refer to the mask user guide for instructions or discuss it with your equipment supplier.
If the mask is properly fitted but still feels uncomfortable, your patient might need another type of mask. ResMed offers full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows; some mask types and models may suit better than others. View ResMed's complete range of masks here.
My patient's mask is leaking. How can I fix this?
If your patient's mask is leaking air, there's probably a problem with the seal or the fit. Reasons for mask leak, and suggested solutions, include:
- Poor adjustment or fit. We recommend that you re-fit the mask using the fitting instructions in the mask user guide. You should fit masks while your patients are in their sleeping position: our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep. You can also check out the mask fitting videos found in our CPAP mask product section.
- Incorrect assembly. Please see the mask user guide for information on assembling the mask. You can download the user guide from the mask support page.
- Wrong size of mask. Your equipment supplier should be able to provide the correct size of mask.
- Wrong type of mask. If your patient's mask is the right size and is properly fitted but is still leaking, another type of mask may be needed. For example, a full face mask can completely eliminate mouth leaks. View ResMed's complete range of masks here.
- Needs replacement. Your patient's mask might be leaking because it's old or worn out. Please see the mask user guide for information, or read our FAQs on mask replacement.
- Cleanliness. Dirt, oils and residues from your patient's skin and surroundings can build up on the mask if they are not removed daily. Your patients should clean their masks every day to optimise seal and efficiency. Read our FAQs on mask cleaning.
If your patient is still having problems with leaks, why not try using a heated humidifier or one of the latest positive pressure (PAP) devices? Our new PAP devices automatically measure and compensate for unintentional leaks to ensure the correct pressure is maintained. Heated humidifiers can greatly reduce mouth breathing and nasal congestion, both of which are associated with leaks.
My patient says that, to obtain a seal, the mask needs to be strapped so tightly that it hurts. What should I do?
If your patient needs to over-tighten the mask to obtain a seal, the cushion size may be wrong or a forehead support might be incorrectly adjusted. Please refer to the first question for suggestions on identifying and resolving problems with fit.
My patient says the mask is really noisy at night. What should I do?
If your patient's mask is noisy, it might mean that it doesn't seal properly. See our recommendations above: make sure the mask is properly fitted, correctly assembled, clean and in good condition. If your patient is still having problems, try a different size or type of mask.
Remember to fit the mask while your patient is in sleeping position: if they sleep lying down with no pillows, fit the mask like that; if they sleep in a recliner, fit the mask that way. This is important because our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep.
Mask noise can also be an indication that your patient's mask is leaking air. This is a common problem that can arise if the mask doesn't seal properly or doesn't fit your patient's face properly. Please see the previous answer for suggestions on how to resolve this problem.
My patient says the mask often gets removed during sleep. How can I resolve this problem?
If the mask is being removed during sleep, it may be because your patient suffers from nasal congestion. If your patient has a history of sinus and allergy problems, a full face mask and/or humidification may offer better treatment.
Where can I find mask fitting guidelines?
ResMed is happy to offer fitting templates for many of our masks. Click on a mask below to open a PDF file of the fitting template.
Please note the following when using these templates:
- Read the directions on the template carefully before cutting and using them.
- The fitting template for the Ultra Mirage™ full face mask is three-dimensional and is not available online.
- Mask fitting templates should be used to aid in the fitting of masks. The use of these templates is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional, sleep technician or equipment supplier.
- Altering the size or dimensions of the original PDFs in any way may compromise the quality and accuracy of these template printouts. To avoid this problem, ensure you are printing at the actual size by turning off all page scaling in your printer settings. You may also refer to the ruler within the printout to ensure the printout is the accurate size.
ResMed nasal mask fitting templates:
AirFit™ N20 (518kb)
AirFit N10 / Swift FX Nano (90 kb)
Mirage Activa LT (41kb)
Mirage Activa (45kb)
Mirage FX (988kb)
Mirage Micro (41kb)
Mirage Vista (139kb)
Ultra Mirage II (45kb)
ResMed full face mask fitting templates:
AirFit F20 (535kb)
AirFit F10 / Quattro Air (60 kb)
Mirage Liberty (68kb)
Mirage Quattro (68kb)
I don't have the mask user guide to hand. Could you remind me how to fit my patient's headgear please?
It's easy to download the user guide from the support page for each mask. In the meantime, here are the fitting guidelines to provide your patients on some of our most popular masks:
- Full face masks: AirFit™ F10 and Quattro™ Air
- Remove the elbow from the mask by pressing the side buttons and pulling the elbow away.
- With both lower headgear straps released, hold the mask against your face and pull the headgear over your head. Ensure that the label on the back of the headgear faces outwards when the headgear is put on.
- Undo the fastening tabs on the upper headgear straps. Pull the straps evenly until the mask is stable and positioned as shown in the illustrations. Reattach the fastening tabs.
- Bring the lower straps below your ears and loop the headgear into the lower hooks on the frame.
- Undo the fastening tabs on the lower headgear straps. Pull the straps evenly until the mask sits firmly on the chin and reattach the fastening tabs.
- Connect the air tubing from your device to the elbow. Attach the elbow to the mask by pressing the side buttons and pushing the elbow into the mask. Turn on your device so that it is blowing air.
- Undo the fastening tabs on the upper headgear straps. Readjust the straps evenly only enough that a seal is achieved and reattach the fastening tabs. Over-tightening may cause leaks.
- The mask and headgear should be in the position shown.
- Nasal mask: AirFit™ N10
- With the grey side of the headgear facing outward and with both lower headgear straps released, align the bottom of the cushion opening with the bottom of your nose.
- Place the mask over your nose. Hold the mask against your face and pull the headgear over your head. Headgear check: Ensure the label on the headgear faces outwards when the headgear is put on.
- Bring the lower straps below your ears. Attach the magnet clip to the outside of the frame.
- Undo the fastening tabs on the upper headgear straps. Adjust the straps evenly until the mask sits comfortably just under the nose. Reattach the fastening tabs to the upper headgear straps.
- Undo the fastening tabs on the lower headgear straps. Adjust the straps evenly until the mask is stable. Reattach the fastening tabs.
- Connect the free end of the short tube assembly to the device air tubing. Turn on your device so that it is blowing air.
- Adjust the cushion and headgear until the mask sits comfortably on your nose and is not creased or twisted.
- The upper straps are the key adjustments for seal and comfort. Ensure they are not over-tightened.
- The lower straps are used to keep the cushion in the right position. They do not need to be tightened much for the mask to fit comfortably.
- Nasal mask: Mirage™ FX
Prior to fitting your mask, remove the elbow from the mask by pressing the side tabs. Connect the elbow to your device air tubing.
- With both lower headgear straps released, hold the mask against your face and pull the headgear over your head.
- Bringing the lower straps below your ears, loop the headgear into the lower hooks on the mask frame.
- Unfasten the Velcro®, pull the upper headgear straps evenly until they are comfortable and reattach the Velcro. Do not over-tighten.
- Repeat step 3 with the lower headgear straps.
- Attach the combined elbow assembly and air tubing to the mask by pressing the side-tabs and pushing into mask frame.
- Your mask and headgear should be positioned as shown. Ensure the headgear label is facing outwards.
- Nasal pillows mask: AirFit™ P10
- Hold the pillows away from your nose ensuring that the pillow size (eg, M) with the left (L) and right (R) indicators are correctly facing towards you then guide the nasal pillows into your nostrils(L into your left nostril, R into your right nostril). Pull the headgear over your head by holding the bottom strap and stretching it around the back of your head. The top strap should sit comfortably on top of your head. Tip! There are raised logos on top of the frame so you can feel the correct way up when fitting in the dark.
- Move the mask away from your face then place it back to get a comfortable fit. Ensure the nasal pillows fit securely into your nostrils with both pillows positioned upright.
- Finally, connect the end of the mask tubing into your device air tubing. Your mask is now fitted and ready to use. When the device is running, a light breeze should be felt through the vent. To inspect the vent place a finger close but not over the entire vent area.
To achieve a comfortable fit, adjust the split straps by spreading them apart to loosen or draw them closer together to tighten.