Learn how to fit a CPAP mask, with sizing advice and templates | ResMed

How to fit a CPAP mask: from managing leaks to choosing the right size

How to properly fit a ResMed CPAP mask

December 6th 2022

A well-fitting mask creates a good seal that prevents air from leaking out – and is more comfortable too! So how do you achieve a great fit? In this article, we answer mask fitting FAQs and share our tips for successful CPAP mask fitting.

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How can I improve the fit of my CPAP mask? ➜
My CPAP mask is leaking. How can I fix this? ➜
I have to strap my CPAP mask headgear very tightly to get a good seal. Is this usual? ➜
My CPAP mask is really noisy at night. What should I do? ➜
Where can I find CPAP mask sizing guidelines and fitting templates? ➜

How can I improve the fit of my CPAP mask?

If you’re looking to improve your mask’s fit, the free myAir app is a good place to start. It contains step-by-step fitting videos and tips, dedicated to different mask types. If you prefer written information, your mask user guide contains complete fitting instructions, or if you’d rather talk to someone, you can ask your medical equipment provider or sleep physician for advice. We’ve also provided fitting templates for some of our most popular masks at the bottom of this page.

Here are four things to keep in mind when fine-tuning your fit:

  • Get in the right position. A mask that fits well when you’re sitting up might not fit so well when you’re lying down. That’s because our facial muscles shift when we lie down and relax even more when we’re asleep. When you fit your CPAP mask do your best to lie in your usual sleeping position, whether that’s in a bed with no pillows or on a recliner, lying on your back or curled up on your side.
  • Make sure your mask’s the right size. Your headgear straps should be adjusted evenly and tightened to offer a comfortable seal. If you can only get a good seal by tightening the mask until it’s uncomfortable, you may have the wrong size. Over-tightening your straps can also result in mask leaks so it’s important to resolve this issue. Check the fitting guide for your mask to make sure you’re using the right cushion size and, if necessary, get in touch with your equipment supplier or sleep specialist to request a mask re-fit session. Please note that sizing can differ between mask designs.
  • Keep on top of mask maintenance. You might be confident you have the right mask size but feel that your headgear strap is too loose or too tight. Just like clothes that are worn frequently, CPAP headgear can get worn and baggy. Fortunately, you can usually save money and reduce waste by buying spare parts instead of a whole new mask. Check out the wide range of replacement CPAP mask components in our online shop.
  • Try not to tinker with forehead support settings. If your CPAP mask has an adjustment dial on the forehead support, your clinician will have set it at the optimal position. Making significant adjustments to the dial setting will change the fit and might result in discomfort or less effective treatment.

If your mask is fitted properly but still feels uncomfortable, why not try a different type of mask? ResMed offers masks in three categories – Minimalist, Freedom and Versatile Fit – that have been chosen to reflect both your needs and sleep habits. You can learn about different mask options and view our complete range here.

My CPAP mask is leaking. How can I fix this?

Mask leaks can affect your comfort and the quality of your therapy so it’s important to tackle them. Let’s have a look at common causes of CPAP mask leaks and possible solutions.

  • Poor adjustment or fit. Take a look at the section above for tips on improving your mask fit and remember to download the free myAir app. If you’re still having problems with fit, speak to your care provider or equipment supplier.
  • Incorrect mask assembly. Is it possible you didn’t put your mask back together properly last time you cleaned it? Read your mask user guide for step-by-step guidance on assembling your mask and check everything is as it should be.
  • Wrong mask size. Your mask needs can change over time, for example if you gain or lose weight. Use the sizing template for your mask to check that you’re using the right cushion size. If you’re in doubt about the size of your mask, contact your equipment supplier or sleep specialist to request a re-fit session.
  • Wrong mask type. If your mask is the right size and properly fitted but it’s still leaking, you might need another kind of mask. Talk to your healthcare professional and ask them to help you select a mask that suits your therapy requirements and sleep preferences. ResMed CPAP mask categories are built to reflect your needs and bedtime habits to help you sleep better – learn more about choosing the right CPAP mask and discover our complete range of masks here.
  • Old or worn-out mask components. If you find you’re tightening your headgear straps more than usual to achieve a good seal or you need to tighten them very frequently, it might be time to replace your mask or its components. Fortunately, you can often save money and avoid waste by buying replacement parts instead of a whole new mask. Find replacement CPAP mask components in our online shop.
  • Insufficient cleaning. Dirt, oils and residues from your skin and your surroundings can build up on your mask and affect its seal. If your mask’s seal isn’t good and you think your cleaning regime may be to blame, take a look at your mask user guide for detailed cleaning instructions and read our page on CPAP mask cleaning and care.

I have to strap my CPAP mask headgear very tightly to get a good seal. Is this usual?

It’s important not to over-tighten your mask – it should not feel uncomfortable. If you need to over-tighten your mask to obtain a good seal, you might have the wrong size, worn-out mask components or an incorrectly adjusted forehead support. Please refer to the first question for suggestions on identifying and resolving problems with fit, and the second question for information on replacing old or worn-out components.

My CPAP mask is really noisy at night. What should I do?

Mask noise can be caused by air leaking out around the cushion, which can occur if your mask doesn’t seal properly or fit your face properly. Please see the previous answers for suggestions on how to improve your mask fit.

However, even a mask that fits and seals well will make some noise. That’s because the air you exhale has to be expelled via the mask’s vents. If you or your bed partner are bothered by the noise of air escaping from the mask vent, ask your doctor or sleep specialist about the ResMed masks with QuietAir vents. These vents are designed to minimise noise and gently disperse exhaled air.

Where can I find CPAP mask sizing guidelines and fitting templates?

Many of our masks have a printable sizing template. Simply print out the template and hold it to your face to identify a cushion size that should suit you. Click on the links to download sizing templates for the following masks.

Please note the following when using these templates:

  • Read the directions on the templates carefully before cutting and using them.
  • Mask sizing templates should be used to aid in the fitting of masks. The use of these templates is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional, sleep technician or equipment supplier.
  • Altering the size or dimensions of the original PDFs in any way may compromise the quality and accuracy of these template printouts. To avoid this problem, ensure you are printing at the actual size by turning off all page scaling in your printer settings. You may also refer to the ruler within the printout to ensure the printout is the accurate size.

Instructions are specific to each mask, so we recommend you download your mask user guide. The free myAir app is another useful resource. It offers mask fitting advice and support, including step-by-step video guides for our most popular masks. Download myAir here.

Please refer to the user guide for relevant information related to any warnings and precautions to be considered before and during use of the product. This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.