If you're just starting your journey to fixing your issues with sleep apnea, your doctor may have recommended using a CPAP machine at night to help with those ongoing issues. A CPAP machine requires that you wear a mask that helps push air through your passageways to help you sleep comfortably at night. However, it can feel a bit awkward at first, and a poor mask seal will reduce the pressure needed to push that air though. Here are some tips for dealing with leaking masks.
Adjust The Pressure
You have control over the amount of air pressure that is supplied by CPAP machine. However, the air pressure can cause problems with the mask forming a good seal. Using high pressure will actually cause more problems with the mask not sealing properly and blowing air out from around the mask. Try lowering the pressure levels so that they are as low as possible while still managing your sleep apnea. High pressure is not always better if low pressure can get the job done.
Your CPAP machine should provide some data in regard to how well the machine is working, which is represented by the apnea hypopnea index (AHI). If you are gradually lowering the pressure so that the mask forms a better seal, you may notice the AHI start to go down with it. Your goal should be to lower the pressure where the AHI continues to go down. If you notice that number shoot upward, then you've adjusted the pressure so that it is now too low.
Clean The Parts
There will be a lot of oils that build up on the mask's silicone cushion, which will prevent it from making a good seal. You'll want to wipe off the oil on a daily basis to help the mask form a better seal. If you ignore cleaning the mask regularly, it will gradually get to a point where it doesn't work as well. You may then have to replace the mask entirely to get it to function well again.
Run A Mask Seal Test
A CPAP machine is going to run at several pressure levels during the night. It is important to run a mask seal test with your current settings to get an idea about how it will function. If the mask has trouble sealing at certain parts of the test, you can try adjusting the pressure and running the test again.