Is it Time for a New Mask?

CPAP Mask Components

If you’ve been using a CPAP machine for sometime now, I am sure that you have your routine perfected at this point. You know the in’s and out’s of using your CPAP, when and if you need to make any changes according to the weather, and when to use new supplies because your current set needs to go. I have spoken with numerous patients that claim to have issues with their mask, and while they do have issues, the solution is actually rather simple… You need a new mask. Here are some tell tale signs that you are most definitely in need of a new mask.

Before we start, I would like to point out that your mask comes in three different components: the cushion/pillow, the frame, and the headgear. If you need one specific part – say a new cushion – don’t say that you need a whole new mask, because if insurance allows, that is what we will send out to you. You have to be specific as to that what you need so that we can ensure that you get the correct supplies. Now, let’s begin:Components-of-a-Mask_hr_productYour headgear is stretched out. I’m not saying you have a big head, in fact, I’m sure you have a lovely sized head, but night after night, use and use, your headgear is bound to stretch. After months of usage, think about how much that headgear might have stretched out… Do you have to re-adjust the top and bottom Velcro pieces, constantly pulling them tighter and tighter just to hold everything in the place? No matter how tight you pill and how much you adjust, the headgear still seems to be too loose? Are there holes!? Come on now, guys, if there is a hole somewhere in your headgear, you must know that it is time to get a new one, right?? Keep track your insurance allowable and replacement schedule – even if it many not seem like you need a new headgear, it definitely won’t hurt to have an extra, just in case.headgearMoving on to your frame – the thing that your headgear attaches to and your insert the cushion into. Thankfully, this does not stretch, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. The frame sits on your face while in use. It can and will absorb the oils from your skin. If you forget to clean it one night before using it again, you are allowing a bacteria invested plastic frame to come in contact with your face. After a certain amount of time the frame may begin to discolor. The oils and bacteria from your skin might cause the plastic to yellow, and well, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very appealing to me. Even if you are really good about keeping your supplies clean, when it is time to replace, please, PLEASE, replace. Just to keep everything nice and clean.cpap frameThe last thing to really keep an eye out for is that cushion/pillow. Again, this silicon will change colors from the oils absorbed from your skin. Depending on what mask you are using, you are going to want to change these as recommend. Nasal pillows and cushions should be changed every two weeks, and full face cushions should be changed monthly. Another way to tell that you cushion is no longer up to par is when you start experiencing more leaks. As time progress, the seal that the cushion/pillow provides tends to wear out. This is a good indication that it is time for a new cushion or pillow. Last but not least, if the silicon is providing any type of irritation or a rash after some time of use (for example, when the cushion was brand new, you were not having any issues, but after some time you are experiencing these problems), then you need to change the silicon ASAP!
cpap cushion
Now that we have come full circle I hope that you keep in mind the replacement schedule for your CPAP supplies. Don’t wait until the very last minute when everything is falling apart to contact your rep, or walk into an office, and request new supplies ASAP! There is a process in which we must follow on our end – especially if you want to bill your insurance – so do keep that in mind. If you stick to the advised replacement schedule, you should not run into any issues.

For more information on changing your mask, please see:

For more information on where you can get CPAP machines, supplies, and accessories, please see:

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