Is your CPAP mask leaking air? Here’s what to do!


April 4th 2023

Your CPAP equipment is set up, you’ve just got comfortable in bed, and you switch on your machine to begin therapy. But wait, what’s that noise coming from your mask, as if air is escaping? And why do your eyes suddenly feel dry? The likely culprit? Mask leak: precisely what you don’t need before trying to get a good night’s sleep.

In this blog, we’ll look at what CPAP mask leak is, common mask leak causes and how to solve them.

What causes CPAP mask leak?

Mask leak can be caused by one of three things: your mask is the wrong size or incorrectly fitted, you’re wearing the wrong mask for your sleep style, or your mask needs to be cleaned or maintained.

If you don’t address the problem, mask leak can lead to disturbed sleep for you or your partner, dry, itchy eyes and less effective therapy. Using the information below, you could help set yourself up for a better night’s rest today!

3 reasons why your CPAP mask is leaking

Your CPAP mask doesn’t fit

A mask that doesn’t fit quite right can be a common cause of mask leak. When your sleep therapy mask doesn’t fit snugly against the skin, air can escape, potentially resulting in discomfort and less effective CPAP therapy.

Make sure your mask fits correctly by:

  • Lying down. Facial contours can change as we alter our body position. Make sure you lie down in your usual sleep position when you fit your mask.
  • Not overtightening your mask. Headgear straps shouldn’t be pulled very tightly as your mask cushion can inflate a little once the air from CPAP machine starts to flow.
  • Getting support from your healthcare professional and asking them any questions you might have! Once you’re at home, try fitting the mask yourself and if you find your mask doesn’t fit comfortably or effectively, get back in touch with your healthcare provider.

For more information about setting up your mask correctly, simply download the myAir app where you’ll find coaching tips to help you fit your mask and how-to videos.

Your CPAP mask doesn’t suit your sleep style

Some of us love to toss and turn at night, while others prefer to maintain one position from sundown to sunrise. We’re all built differently, and you might be experiencing mask leak because your mask doesn’t reflect your needs while you sleep.

If, for example, you breathe through your mouth, using a nasal or nasal pillows CPAP mask could spell trouble as air escapes through the mouth (mouth leak) and a full face mask could suit you better. It’s important that you discuss the way you sleep with your healthcare professional, so they can help select the right mask for you. Our CPAP mask categories are built to reflect your bedtime habits and support you towards better rest – check them out to see which mask style could be for you!

Your CPAP mask needs cleaning or maintained

Sometimes, mask leak can occur when your CPAP mask needs to be cleaned or requires some TLC. That’s because oils from the skin can interfere with your mask’s seal. It’s recommended that you clean your mask, frame, elbow, cushion, and headgear daily or weekly depending on the component.

Cleaning doesn’t end with your mask, though! Clean skin can also help combat mask leak. A good bedtime routine could include washing your face each night before you put on your CPAP mask.

Remember, you should also inspect your mask for signs of wear and tear because as masks age, seal performance can deteriorate. If you notice that any components of your setup need replacing, you can shop spare parts in our eshop!

CPAP mask leak and myAir

Did you know, myAir app can help you troubleshoot common CPAP issues? Connecting your CPAP machine to myAir means you’ll be sent personalised therapy coaching tips direct to your smartphone. These could include mask fitting instructions and mask fitting videos. Every morning, the myAir app will provide your personal myAir score. This myAir score is based on different criteria where you can see if your seal is getting better or worse by looking at the ‘mask seal’ points. Using myAir means you could be better placed to follow up on your therapy from the comfort of your own home. Try myAir today and see if you could access more effective, comfortable therapy tonight!

Please refer to myAir support 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.