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Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
#1
Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
I am a new CPAP user and I have been trying to get a good seal overnight for my mask and just can't seem to do it.  I am going on my 3rd week with this mask.

I have allergies so I sometimes breath through my mouth while sleeping so I went with a full face mask (ResMed AirFit F20 Large with the silicone not memory foam).  I find it starts leaking after I am asleep and I can't ever seem to get it to seal well again.  It leaks at the top around my eyes, and sometimes at the bottom in the center of the chin area.  I have a medium beard and I tend to shift a bit during the night so I might be moving the mask around a bit without knowing it.  

Any suggestions on masks, or modifications to this one to help keep a seal all night would be grand!   Thanks!
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#2
RE: Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
Welcome to the forum. Your not alone in having mask leak issues. It is a common problem brought to the forum. I use the same mask but seldom have leaks. That was not the case at the start. Leaking at the bridge of the nose into the eyes is a common problem with full face masks if not adjusted or sized properly. Go to the link below for the mask primer. It may provide the help you need. It's possible you need a different mask. What works well for one person doesn't for others.
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Mask Primer
Soft Cervical Collar

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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#3
RE: Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
Thank you for the reply.  I went through the guide and found several things I didn't know.  I went through the fitting procedure last night, leaving the mask a little looser than normal, and at first it was fine.  I woke up after about 4 hours and it was leaking significantly. 

I was wondering if perhaps the foam instead of silicone seal might work better, or perhaps it is a case of my pillow knocking the mask to the side as sleep.  I am a side/stomach sleeper. 

Are the CPAP pillows any help keeping the mask from being knocked off?
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#4
RE: Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
I'm sorry to learn you still having problems. I'm a side sleeper also but seldom have  leaks. I use a regular pillow and don't know much about the special CPAP pillows. I wear a soft cervical collar to prevent chin tucking and positional apnea. It also keeps my mouth from dropping open. When I occasionally fail to use it my mouth falls open breaking the bottom seal of the mask. Is it possible that's your problem? I tried the memory foam version and experienced lot's of leaks. But that doesn't mean it won't be better for you
Download OSCAR

Organize Charts
Attaching Charts

Mask Primer
Soft Cervical Collar

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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#5
RE: Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
Finding a mask that does not leak can be tricky. I started with the Resmed F20 AirFit and it failed miserably. Next, I went to the ResMed AirTouch and still had leaks mainly around the eyes. Also tried the ResMed F30i and Phillips Dreamware with poor results. The fifth mask has a wonderful fit with close to zero leaks nightly. It is comfortable, easy to adjust, and does not leave red marks on my face. So what is my dream mask...the Evora by Fisher & Paykel. 
Finding your dream mask may take some time. Be patient and use the 30-day trial to try masks. Most places will allow an exchange within the 30-day period. Good luck with finding a comfortable and leak free mask.
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#6
RE: Trouble Getting Good Mask Seal
I use the small nasal mask, the RESMED N20.  It is easily displaced and deformed under the right circumstances.  

I have learned to place my pillow in such a way as to leave the mask, itself, unsupported.  I tuck my fingers under my chin or against its sides by folding my wrists and crossing my arms in front of me.  This is side-sleeping, the way I fall asleep.  The idea is that the head and headgear of the mask are supported by the pillow, but the pillow's lower edge, near my neck, ends halfway down the jaw.  Oh, and I only ever used a down pillow (Costco sells some nice ones) because punching and folding and bunching will generally be kept by the filler down.  IOW, you can shape the pillow, and place it, so that you can sleep comfortably, but not have any of its bulk displacing or deforming the actual mask.

And yes, generally the supporting straps are best left ever-so-slightly looser than you think is reasonable.  Tightening them encourages stretching, meaning more tightening again, and it tends to deform the mask sufficiently that the seals are easily broken in one or two places with slight sideways pressure.  The increased tightness might mean skin lesions, or marks for much of the morning.  Also, if the mask is slightly oversized because that option works best, you run the risk of a tight mask impacting the top teeth and displacing them over time.
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