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ResMed S9 whistle problem - Solutions?
I am having some problems with my use of a ResMed S9 CPAP(auto) and I wanted to ask for solutions/advice.

My Respironics REMstar Auto M series motor finally went out on me. I went to my local DME and asked for a recommendation for the best CPAP(auto) out there. They said unequivocally that it was the ResMed S9. I took their advice and I ended up buying 2 units for cash since I didn’t have insurance that would cover it. Almost a thousand dollars apiece. And I bought 2 Swift FX nasal pillows as well so I would have 2 setups to use.

Now the reason I bought 2 units was so that I could have one at home and one at the new girlfriend’s house and didn’t want to be lugging one CPAP back and forth all week and not knowing which house I would end up at for the night. Our houses are about 40 minutes apart.

So I have been dating the girlfriend for about 3 months, it has been going phenomenally well, this is a person that I love and I don’t take that lightly, but I have been a little wary about introducing the CPAP into the equation since it is a little awkward and embarrassing but we talked about it and I finally brought the CPAP over to her house. I set it up and we get into bed and I turn it on and she says “what’s that whistle noise?” (Yes, this is the S9 unit that has the annoying whistle noise.) So I try to cover up the CPAP with a towel and lowered it to floor level to attempt to make it quieter. We eventually go to sleep but a couple of times during the night she tells me that the CPAP whistle noise is bothering her every time I exhale.

The next night at her house I start trying to analyze where the whistle is coming from and try taking off the humidifier, moving the CPAP to different locations near the bed, placing various towels and pillows around the machine to muffle the sound and nothing works to make it quiet enough. We even put on a fan to bring some white noise in and that doesn’t mask it enough either. She tells me that she can’t sleep with the CPAP on and the previous night she wasn’t able to sleep as well because of the whistle noise. I end up going home that night since she can’t sleep with the CPAP on and I can’t sleep without using it. Not a happy camper.

So I start looking for solutions because this is affecting my relationship in a big way. I contact my DME where I bought the 2 units and set up an appointment to talk to the manager. I tell her my problem with the noise issue and she says that I would have to take that up with ResMed and there is nothing they can do about it. I only have 6 hours on the one machine but they say that it is considered “used” now and I can’t return it. They said “that is the law” and they can’t be returned if used. Their only option was for me to return the machines for 50% of what I just bought them for since they were used. I argued with them for a good 20 minutes but that is all that they would offer.

So I am looking for advice on what I should do at this point. I am getting really frustrated with this. Here are my options as I see it:

1) Contact ResMed and look to get refunded for the 2 ResMed S9 machines that I can’t use if I want to sleep in the same room as my girlfriend. I don’t know how this process would work or what my chances are of getting my money back for what I consider 2 defective machines that have noise levels WAY over what I consider acceptable. The S9 has a whine on inhale and a whistle on exhale. Completely unacceptable! My girlfriend says it sounds like a cat in heat. My Respironics REMstar Auto M series was significantly quieter.

2) Return both machines at a loss of about a thousand dollars and buy another machine that is supposedly quieter from the same DME who didn’t stand by me.

3) Build some kind of noise deflecting box to use for both my house and my girlfriend's house so that it would be quiet enough to use the S9’s. I don’t know if this would even work.

4) Try to talk my girlfriend into using ear plugs so that she can sleep and we can be in the same room. I hate to do this because I don’t want to affect her sleep in a negative fashion and I don’t want her to not hear her alarm in the morning or feel cutoff from what’s happening around her. I have tried earplugs in the past and they bug me too much to use. Because of the noise level on this machine I have just been using 2 t-shirts to cover each ear.

Does anyone have any advice to help my relationship and make this situation better? I need a solution pronto.

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Hi Grant, welcome to Apnea Board
The DME telling you lies and trying take advantage of the situation
ResMed don,t deal with customers directly
machines have to be returned to place of purchase for repairs or warranty issues

my machine make slight sound on exhale but not too significant to disturb my sleep
your machine sound like defective to me, its covered by the two years warranty

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Mine has a faint whistle too on exhale. Only mild annoyance.
I put some silicone grease on the door gasket and it went away for a while.
Now it's back again and grease didn't stop it.
"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

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Hi GrantAZ,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I notice a whistle on my machine but it doesn't bother me or my husband, and he's a light sleeper.
Hang in there for other suggestions and best of luck.
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Make sure the filters are clean and in correctly.
Make sure the humidifier lid is shut (although you said you get the whistle without the humidifier?).
Try a different mask. Yes, I know you are an adult and you know where the sound is coming from, but there's a lot of us with nasal pillows that experience this racket.
Speaking of masks, make sure the machine is set for the correct type of mask.
Try turning off EPR.

The whistle on mine is hit and miss. The Escape whistled a lot but the Autoset not so much.

Insist on returning both devices. It is not the law (that I am aware of). They take them back all the time after non-compliance or patient needs a different machine (like a bilevel). Mention the Better Business Bureau and contacting an attorney. After you return (not exchange) them, go to Supplier #2 in the Supplier's List. They sell gently used or open box machines.

The Phillips-Respironics machines are just as good. The only difference is the data seen on the screen. They are also cheaper, which is why the DME convinced the cash paying customer that the ResMed is better. The S9s are great machines and I love my Autoset. But when I was buying it on my own, I seriously considered getting the PR Auto.
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(03-01-2013, 10:24 PM)PaulaO2 Wrote: Try a different mask. Yes, I know you are an adult and you know where the sound is coming from, but there's a lot of us with nasal pillows that experience this racket.

I think Paula might be on to something here.

After reading Paula's post I decided to try something.

I grabbed a nasal pillows mask (F&P Opus 360), put it on, set the AutoSet for nasal pillows and started the mask fit. There it was, a whistle on every exhale - and a low sounding whine on inhales...sounded kind of like a bad industrial techno song. I never noticed this before; but every other time I tried that mask I was dealing with much bigger issues and I never even thought to listen for noise. It wasn't exactly LOUD, but I could definitely see how it could seem that way in the still of the night. It sounded like it was coming from the flow generator - from somewhere inside the machine behind the filter. So I shut it off and hooked the Quattro FX back up, set it to FFM, turned on the mask fit and the whistle was gone. I put my ear up to the back of the machine - no whistle at all. Switched back to Opus 360, back came the whistle. Switched to SleepWeaver Advance nasal mask - no whistle...until I exhaled fairly hard. I found I could get the AutoSet to make the same noise with the Advance, but I had to breath really hard to do it. So I hooked the Quattro FX back up and exhaled as hard as I could through my nose and there it was, not as loud, but loud enough to hear. So I started breathing really hard through my mouth and that got it going. This noise is not coming from the humidifier and is not coming from the mask and, if I were a betting person, I would bet it has something to do with flow resistance.

I'm not sure if this is the exact same thing everyone else is always talking about, but it sure seems to me that it might be related. It could just be the particular masks I tried. These were the only ones I could try because I gave all the others away and just kept one each of my favorite pillows and nasal mask for if I ever somehow figured out how to keep air from escaping through my mouth.

Maybe some others out there can try something similar and see if they get similar results.

I'm not sure if it would do much good toward finding a solution, but it might go a little way in satisfying some curiosity.

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Did you try the pillows on any other mask setting? As in telling the machine it was a nasal mask instead?

I wonder how screwy the data is when the mask is wrong?

I find high pitched noises to be very annoying so I'm guessing I would wake up if my Autoset starting honking.
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An update:

Ah, as suggested I tried switching things around and playing with the filter, mask settings, humidifier, etc.. None of that seemed to change the sounds each S9 made. There may be a few more things I can try once I get some more time to fiddle with it. I didn't have time to try all that was suggested but will try to get to it later this weekend.

What I determined though is that the S9 with the most hours on it makes the terrible whiney noise on inhalation (like a cat screeching) but the other S9 does not. It is a drastic difference. I tried both without the humidifier and filter and used the same hose and nasal mask and power supply for comparison purposes. Both have the annoying whistle sound on exhalation which I don’t know how to fix at this point. So, one of them at least seems to be defective.

The one I brought to my girlfriend’s house was the really noisy one just by chance. I will try the quieter one tonight. I will bring earplugs just in case. We already talked about it today and she said that if she couldn’t sleep she would just move to the couch for the night and that we would work through it and find a solution so I shouldn’t worry about it.

If I could just somehow figure out how to build a “noise reducing box” around it while still allowing airflow to get to the air intake/filter I might have a possible solution for the lower hours used S9 whistle problem. The other S9 needs to go back to ResMed for repair/replacement/refund. I sent them an email through their website asking how I should proceed with that. I hope I don't have to go back to my DME as they weren't willing to do anything for me. They wouldn't even listen to the machine.

Thanks everybody for the suggestions. I feel like I am at least making some progress and learning a little more about what to do.

Have a great weekend!

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Earplugs would cause the sound to amplify and make the noise louder
few things will help to minimize conducted noise
* place your machine on mouse pad or a towel to absorb some of the noise
* drape the hose over the headboard or use some hanger hose system to keep the hose off the bed
* hose cosy

Low radiated noise
Flow generators typically produce “radiated noise” which emits through the casing and inlet of the device and out to the surface it’s resting upon.

Low conducted noise
The noise that circulates from the flow generator through the breathing tube and into your mask is called “conducted noise.” S9 devices produce conducted noise levels that are 78% less than all ResMed S8 II models, which results in less vibration through the cheekbones, better comfort and
lower noise at the mask.
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(03-02-2013, 01:29 AM)PaulaO2 Wrote: Did you try the pillows on any other mask setting? As in telling the machine it was a nasal mask instead?

I just tried each mask on each of the mask settings. The results are the same with each mask regardless of the settings - the settings don't seem to change anything.

I thought it may have to do with pressure variables due to different intentional leak rates, but I can't seem to find the intentional leak rate charts for the Opus 360 or the Advance.

The only other thing I can think of is that it might have to do with air cavity size (i.e. the larger FFM has more room for air to compress on exhale and expand on inhale, while the nasal pillows has the least room for this and this makes the flow generator have to work harder to stabilize pressure rates). I'm just guessing about this and I obviously don't know that much about the mechanics at play here.
If this were the case, I'm wondering if a larger diameter hose would alleviate the problem, like maybe switching from SlimLine to standard, or ClimateLine to ClimateLine Max. I can't test this out because the only hoses I have are SlimLines and ClimateLines.

Maybe somebody who knows a little bit about the mechanics of pneumatic pressure, etc. can say if any of this would make any sense.

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