How to Make a CPAP Machine Quieter

How to Make a CPAP Machine Quieter

It’s finally time to go to bed. You are in your pajamas, have finished your nighttime routine, and hopped into bed. After a stressful day, you get all cozy and ready for sleep… until you put on your CPAP machine. Unfortunately, this is something that happens to many users of these gadgets.

Even though they help you sleep, CPAP machines certainly are not the quietest of devices. To help you sleep easier, you likely want to find ways to make it quieter. Luckily, you have stumbled on the right place. Here is how to make your CPAP machine more peaceful.

A Note on CPAP Machine Noises

It is essential to eliminate any unhopeful ideas about your CPAP machine’s noise level before getting started. To put it simply, you cannot entirely eliminate the sound from any CPAP machine. In other words, your device will have at least a little bit of noise.

You must understand this fact. Thinking that you can eliminate all noise will send you on a never-ending and impossible to achieve task, forcing you to waste your time and money. Go ahead and accept that your CPAP machine will have a little bit of noise, though hopefully not a lot.

Noise Level Ratings

Something else we should talk about is noise level ratings. All CPAP machines should have a noise level rating measured by the decibel scale (dB). Decibels measure how loud a sound is. The higher the decibel rating, the louder the noise. Here are examples of decibel ratings in real life:

  • 30 dB: Whisper
  • 40 dB: Library
  • 50 dB: Conversation in a home
  • 80 dB: Alarm clock
  • 110 dB: Rock concert

When it comes to CPAP machines, quiet models range between 26 decibels and 30 decibels. Most modern machines fall within this rating. A variety of factors, such as the addition of a humidifier, will affect the noise level. Some older models are likely to have higher decibel ratings too.

Common Causes for a Loud CPAP Machine

A number of things can cause a CPAP machine to be loud. For most people, what they’re hearing is not the CPAP machine. Instead, it is the mask when they breathe. This issue is especially true if the mask is ill-fitting.

Another common cause is leaky, bent, or kinky hoses. This causes the CPAP machine to work harder and for the air to be forced through the hoses unnaturally. Any additional parts, like humidifiers, increase noise levels as well. Humidifiers are especially known to make a CPAP machine louder.

Finally, the last cause for a loud CPAP machine is the machine itself. Older models are more likely to be louder than newer ones. Certain features, like air filters, make the noise level go up as well.

Materials Needed

Luckily, you don’t need a whole lot of materials to make your CPAP machine quieter. In fact, what you need will depend on the issue. Here, we are going to list all of the materials you may need. Before buying every item, inspect your CPAP machine using the steps below. Once you inspect your machine, you will know what you need to get so that you can fix the noise.

Here is a complete list of all materials you may need to decrease the sound levels of your CPAP machine:

  • Thin towel
  • New mask
  • New mask cushion
  • New hose
  • Hose cover
  • New filter
  • Distilled water
  • New CPAP machine

How to Make a CPAP Machine Quieter

There are a lot of potential reasons as to why your CPAP machine is so loud, ranging from an ill-fitting mask to a broken hose. Here are some ways to make your CPAP machine quieter. You might not need to go through all the steps, depending on why your CPAP machine is loud.

Step 1: Move Your CPAP Machine

One of the easiest and most effective ways to quiet your CPAP machine is simply moving it further away from your head. This tip won’t change the decibel level, but it will take it further away from your head, making it sound quieter to your ears.

More specifically, place a noisy CPAP machine below your ear levels. This will cause the noise to reduce dramatically since the waves don’t travel directly into your ears. If you can place it a few feet away and below ear level, even better.

It is important to mention that you should not place a CPAP machine on a carpet, fuzzy rug, drape, or some other thick fabric. These materials can potentially block the airflow. Instead, try to place it on a flat service with adequate air access.

Also, the place you move it to should be free of dirt and dust. Dirt and dust will clog up the filter. This is likely to happen eventually, but you don’t want to speed up the process. Not to mention, it can trigger a lot of allergies and health issues.

If you notice that the sound you hear is caused by your CPAP machine shaking or rumbling, you can muffle the noise slightly by placing a thin rug or foam sheet underneath the machine. This will help absorb some of the shocks, eliminating some of the noise.

Make sure that the towel or foam you use is relatively thin and does not block the vent. If you use something too fuzzy or thick, you may be doing more harm than good. A simple kitchen or bathroom towel should be suitable for your CPAP machine.

Step 2: Adjust the Mask Fit

Another simple way to make your CPAP machine seem quieter is to readjust the fit of your mask. Many people don’t know how to fit their CPAP mask to their face properly. Ideally, the mask should surround your entire face, but it shouldn’t cause any pressure or pain.

If you feel that the mask is hurting in any way, loosen it up. In contrast, tighten the mask if it doesn’t snugly fit over the entire facial surface. Another sign that the mask is too loose is hearing or feeling air leaking from any of the sides.

If you cannot adjust the mask for it to fit comfortably, you likely have the wrong size. Get a different mask or mask cushion so that it properly fits around your face with no discomfort or air leaks.

Step 3: Change the Mask Cushion

Although we hate to admit it, your mask cushion undergoes a lot of pretty nasty stuff. Whenever you sleep, you put pressure on your mask. Simultaneously, the cushion, since it touches your face directly, is exposed to oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and more.

Though these items may not seem like much, other than a little bit disgusting, they cause your mask cushion to breakdown over time. That’s because the oils eat away at the cushion material, causing it to break and potentially crack.

If you notice that your mask cushion is cracked, looks worn, or has any leaks, it may be time to get a new mask cushion. You should try to change out this mask cushion before it gets to the point of cracking since it is exposed to many nasty germs.

When you purchase a new mask cushion, make sure it is the correct size and fit for the reasons described above.

Step 4: Ensure the Hose Is Attached Correctly

Another common cause for a loud CPAP machine is a leaky, broken, or improperly attached hose. The easiest way to know if the hose is to blame is to listen to the noise. If the annoying CPAP noise sounds like a whistle or a hiss, it is likely coming from the hose.

Whenever the hoses are not properly attached to the machine, air leaks, causing the hissing noise. Make sure that the CPAP hoses are attached properly by inspecting where it connects to the CPAP machine. Correct any issues that you find.

In addition, kinks or bends in the hose can force the CPAP machine to work harder, causing it to make a louder sound. Run your hand along the entire hose to ensure that no kinks are present. Straighten out the hose if you find any.

Before going to bed, it is wise to check for bends or kinks in the hose. This ensures that you are getting an adequate air supply and that the noise won’t be excessively loud.

Step 5: Add a Hose Cover

Even if there are no leaks or bends in the hose, the air pumping through it can cause quite a bit of noise. Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to fix this issue without adding a hose cover or buying a completely new CPAP machine. Of these two options, the hose cover is definitely more affordable and pretty effective.

A hose cover is something that goes around the hose. This allows it to be insulated, which reduces noise and eliminates rain out. Though it may not sound that effective, hose covers are a great way to nearly eliminate any noise caused by air pushing through the hose.

Step 6: Change the Machine’s Filters

You might not realize it, but your CPAP machine filter works hard to keep you safe and the machine working properly. It ensures that both are safe by collecting any allergens, debris, and dust from the airflow.

The longer your machine works, the more dirt will build up in the filter. Whenever this happens, the filter will get dirty and clogged up, forcing the machine to work harder and louder. The only way to fix a loud CPAP machine with this issue is to change out the CPAP machine filter.

You shouldn’t just change the filter whenever the CPAP machine gets loud, though. Read your instruction manual to learn how frequently you should change it. This is for your own health and well being. Not to mention, it will keep the noise down and your machine running smoothly.

Step 7: Check the Humidifier

Some CPAP machines have a humidifier, but not all. Though CPAP machines with humidifiers are beneficial, they require more maintenance and can be much louder, especially if they aren’t maintained properly.

More specifically, you need to check the water levels in the machine. If they get too low, the machine will likely make some rather disruptive noises like gurgling or bubbling. This noise is most likely to happen whenever you inhale.

Whenever you refill the humidifier, make sure to use distilled water. Tap water and other unfiltered waters contain minerals that will clog up the machine. As a result, it will be much louder and break prematurely. Use distilled water to keep your CPAP machine working properly.

In addition to the water level, look at the humidifier’s hose. If it is not set up properly, it can create an even louder sound whenever you inhale. There should be no bending in the hose, and it needs to be attached properly.

Step 8: Get a New CPAP Machine

If you have gone through every possible solution and your CPAP machine is still loud, it may be time to get a new model. Many newer models are specifically designed with low decibel ratings, meaning that they are much quieter than older ones.

One of the quietest CPAP machines is the RedMed Airsense 10 Elite. This model is just below a whisper at 26 decibels. On top of being incredibly quiet, the CPAP machine is really easy to use, ensuring anyone can incorporate it into their sleep routine.

Another really quiet option is the IntelliPAP AutoAdjust CPAP Machine. This option has around a 26-decibel rating and comes with a five-year warranty. It also is great for those who are on the go since it comes with a home use and travel design.

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