If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and now need to choose a sleep apnea mask, you may find the selection you have to choose from somewhat daunting. There are several different types and within those types are several different styles you can choose from.
You have got your nasal masks, your full face masks, your nasal pillow masks, your alternative and oral masks, your multi-fit masks, and your gel-based masks. Each of these categories has several styles and you may need to have some help determining what is right for you.
Nasal masks are triangle shaped and fit right over your nose. These are probably the most common type of mask and most likely the easiest and most comfortable to wear when sleeping. Well cushioned with an air-filled membrane and a gel spacer makes for greater comfort and stability. The headgear secures over the head and if the triangular mask also fits over the mouth the headgear comes with a chin strap.
Full face sleep apnea masks may be a little more difficult to wear but with better lighter weight construction they may be just what you are looking for. Full face masks may be slightly more durable and have better adjustment straps. As long as a perfect seal is achieved and no air leaks out, any one of these masks will be very effective.
Nasal pillow masks usually come as a combo pack with two or three different options for cushions and seals to get the perfect fit. The nasal pillows are two small tubes which insert into the nostrils and go up over the head to let the wearer sleep on their side with little difficulty.
An oral mask is perfect for the wearer who sleeps with an open mouth. To prevent drying of the mouth and nose this mask is usually combined with some warm humidity. These masks will take some getting used to because the nostrils are plugged to create a good seal.
Alternative masks, or hybrid masks, are a combination of any of the masks mentioned above. Basically a custom design, they are fitted to the wearer specifically for comfort and function. Comfort and function are important in making sure the sleep apnea sufferer is able to use the mask without difficulty.
All masks need to have a good seal to work properly and the next biggest consideration should be a comfort. If the headgear or masks does not fit or is the slightest bit uncomfortable the user compliance will decrease over time and eventually stop. Some cushioning and securing straps are better than others and if the price is no consideration the more expensive may be your best bet to get the comfort you need.
Sleep apnea is serious business and the better and more comfortable the people who make the sleep apnea masks can make them then the better off the people who have sleep apnea can and will be, both with compliance in using the masks and headgear and the treatment of their condition itself.