I started with a Resmed Quattro Air when I ordered all my stuff at one time online. After the first 3 nights it was obvious that mask wasn't going to work - killed the bridge of my nose and still leaked a lot. Later I trimmed a little of the inner silicone seal, at the top of the nose and that helped with the pain, but still didn't seal well.
So I ordered an Airfit P10 pillow. It arrived one week into the journey. And it worked great. For 3 weeks. Then I started mouth leaking. Not that my mouth was coming open. The air was just getting out anyway. Coming out of the corner. And making the back of my throat sore where the air was jetting past.
I ordered two more masks. A RespCare hybrid (mouth mask with nasal pillows on top). And a really comfortable looking foam seal Forma. I never did get the Forma to seal well, unless I tightened it really really tight. I didn't think this was okay to sleep with on a nightly basis.
The hybrid worked okay though. For a day or two. There was this really annoying chin flap on the bottom, which is supposed to take the place of a chin strap. A nice idea on paper I'm sure, but in practice it just pulled the mask down too low on my face, making the pillows not seal, and putting the top of the mask along my teeth instead of my gums. It came with medium and large cushions. I was using the large, so I experimented with the medium. I cut the chin flap off. It worked. So I cut the chin flap off the large. It worked even better.
I got bold after that and cut _all_ of the silicone inner seal out of the first mask - the Quattro Air. That exercise ruined that mask for good...
Went back to the hybrid. It was leaking. The left pillow kept loosing the seal. And I kept getting leaks in the two bottom left corners. Tightened it more than I thought I should, and it finally quit leaking in the corners. But the pillows were still leaking, later in the night. And the pressure (not the air but the mask itself) would push my chin back further during the night, changing the seal and making the jaw joint feel a little painful.
Now I'm getting desperate. It's been six weeks, and all I've done is trade out obstructive sleep apnea for leak sleep apnea. I'm still waking up probably dozens of times a night with leaks.
So I ordered two more masks last Friday -- with Saturday delivery. (this time I at least got return insurance) A blue ComfortGel and a cloth two piece Sleepweaver Anew. The ComfortGel sure looked and felt like it would work. But it never sealed in the two bottom corners. Loose and it wouldn't seal, tight and the corners would crinkle.
The cloth mask felt great - at low pressure. But it had a fatal flaw. In profile, I don't have a flat face, I have a round face. I need the bottom part of the mask to rotate in, to get a good seal. With two sets of straps, it looks like you can independently tighten the top and bottom. But... the bottom strap is attached to the mask with a wide plastic bit, that spreads the force across both the bottom _and_ the top half of the mask. When you tighten the bottom strap to seal bottom corner leaks, it mainly just pulls the dividing strip between the two mask halves harder against your upper gum. So both the new masks are going back...
I have to do something in the meantime. So back to the hybrid. And last night I finally figured out why the straps weren't evenly adjusted... My nose is a little off center (at the bottom, but not the top, which means besides the offset at the bottom, there is also a tilt from top to bottom). Since you insert the pillows first, the mouth mask is off center too (it's all connected and follows the tilt). With this new found info, I stopped trying to recenter the mouth mask (which had been pulling one pillow out...). I also just started adjusting the straps to what felt even, instead of trying to match strap lengths.
But it still leaks some. Especially if I try to lay on my side. And the exhaust vent is noisy. Especially if the elbow rotates up (which it tends to do with a Hose Buddy at the head of the bed). When the elbow gets in the exhaust stream, it's really loud.
So I figure I'll go back and try the P10 pillow again - maybe my mouth leak was temporary. But even more desperate because my sleep quality is going way down, and my sleep deficit is growing every day, so I can't take any chances. Next weapon in the arsenal - tape. Surgical tape. Two and a half inches wide, four inches long. Tested this at lunch time yesterday. It seals pretty dang good. So last night this is Plan A. (plan B is the hybrid again) Just for a test.
And it worked great for the first 3 hours. Then guess what - it starts leaking too! Yes, I am mouth leaking while sealed up with surgical tape. The air is escaping from one corner of my mouth, and getting out under the end of the tape. Looking at my Sleepyhead stats this morning, I dealt with that leak for another 3 hours before I finally gave up. So six hours on the P10, half good and half leaking.
Then two hours on the hybrid, but got tired of sleeping on my back and wanted on my side but it kept leaking. So I did what I haven't done ever - I just turned the thing off and slept with no mask and no cpap. For another two hours. I was waking up with obstructions the second hour...
I remembered I bought a Sleep Gasket sometime during all this. So tonight I'm going to try the Forma again (the foam seal full face mask) with the sleep gasket, and see if I can get a seal without having to overighten the straps.
I'm realizing the problems (with a mask) are probably from my round profile and a "not square" chin/jawline. I need to be able to get a seal at the bottom of a mask, but tightening up the straps enough to seal at the bottom means I'm too tight everywhere else. A two part mask or hybrid would solve this, but the cloth two-part was defeated by the strap attachment. So I'm going to concentrate on making the hybrid work.
I may also give the Resmed hybrid a try. It has the dual wall pillows like their P10. (my current hybrid is a single wall and is easier to leak). It also has a quieter mesh vent. (my current hybrid has a noisy row of holes). But it costs double the other masks. And this mask saga is getting expensive. I _have_ to be able to sleep though.
Sorry for the length of this novel/rant/mask comparison.