May 16th 2022

How to Size CPAP Nasal Pillows Accurately for Your Face

Picking the right size CPAP nasal pillow can be difficult. It’s essential to ensure both comfort and seal when choosing the best fit for you. The wrong size could cause discomfort, mask irritation, and ineffective sleep apnea therapy.

Picking the Right Size for You

Some nasal pillow masks come with varying pillow sizes, while other nasal pillow masks require you to choose a size when ordering. If the mask you are looking at requires you to select a size in advance, begin by finding the sizing guide and template for the nasal CPAP mask you intend to purchase to measure your nose size. Use this to determine which size to order. View an example sizing guide here.

Measuring Your Nose

  • When printing the sizing template, make sure you print it at its original size.
  • Cut the template along the dotted lines.
  • Place the cut-out template around your nose.
  • Determine your size based on where the edges of your nostrils and the tip of your nose land.

Wearing Your CPAP Nasal Mask

Your mask has arrived! It’s important that you insert your nasal pillows properly. Here’s how to ensure you’re wearing your new mask correctly:

  • Gently insert the nasal cushions into each nostril.
  • You should not have to push the pillow into your nostril. If this is the case, try a larger size.
  • Each pillow should lightly rest on the edge of your nostril while still securing a seal.

The Best Way to Test Out Your Nasal Mask

It is best to fit it in your sleeping position because it may fit differently when sitting versus lying. Lay down with the mask on and check for leaks in varying sleeping positions and when you move. Make sure the tubing doesn’t get caught when moving, which could pull on the mask.

  • Side Sleepers: Test your mask on both sides for a few minutes, allowing the mask to present any concerns in those positions.
  • Back Sleepers: We also recommend you lay in this position for at least five minutes to guarantee your mask will fit soundly at night.
  • Active Sleepers: Wear your mask while moving from one position to another. Is the mask getting dislodged at all during movement?

Testing the Seal of Your Nasal Pillows

When finding the right nasal pillow size, comfort and seal are the most important things to remember. Here’s how to know if your nasal mask has the correct seal:

  • Comfortable fit: Ensure that the nasal cushion fits comfortably in your nostrils.
  • Snug fit: Your nasal pillows should fit snugly while remaining comfortable.
  • Optimize comfort and seal: The goal is to keep your mask as loose as possible for optimal comfort while still creating a secure seal.

A tight seal doesn’t mean a good seal! If you need to compromise comfort for a good seal, you have the wrong size.

Signs You Have the Wrong Size

  • Excessive pressure on nostrils: When wearing the nasal mask, your nostrils shouldn’t feel extreme pressure.
  • Excessive space between nose and pillow: If there is extra space between the nasal pillow and your nose, you may need to tighten your headgear or get a larger pillow size.
  • You can feel or hear air escaping out of the mask: If air is seeping out of the mask, you’ll need to change the size of your nasal pillows to ensure a secure seal. (Note: The venting system is constantly releasing air).

Still Not Fitting? Consider Another Option

If your nasal pillows still aren’t fitting correctly after trying varying sizes, you may want to consider a regular nasal mask or full-face mask. Both of these alternative options will seal on your face instead of within your nostrils.

Regular nasal masks still only cover your nose, but instead of inserting only into the nostril, the mask covers the entire nose. This may be a better fit for you if you struggle to find a nasal pillow that fits your nostrils. The regular nasal mask will seal around your entire nose, while a full face mask covers both your nose and mouth.

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