CPAP Machine Noise Reduction: Tips How To Make The Sleep Equipment Sound Less Distracting

CPAP machine sitting on night stand with nose pillow, mask and tubing

Last Updated: July 2, 2021

Sleep apnea is a severe medical condition that affects millions of people across the globe. 

What’s more...

The patient suffers blockage or trouble breathing during the night.

The breathing blockage can last somewhere from ten to thirty seconds at times.

If left untreated, the problem can lead to a range of side effects such as high blood pressure or even a heart attack.

A CPAP machine can help you cope with the problem.

The Continuous Positive Air Pressure Machines are used as therapy for sleep apnea. These machines are highly effective but come with a major problem—noise and distraction. Luckily, this problem is manageable.

Reasons For Noise In CPAP Machines

Sleep Apnea CPAP Machine with head hear mask, on white table

The most common question from CPAP machine users is about the tips and tricks for CPAP machine noise reduction. But before we jump into finding ways to sort the annoying sounds, let’s have a look at the possible causes of these noises.

Unfortunately, these noises come from the machine itself, and reasons usually start with the aging of machines. The older models tend to make more noise as compared to the latest versions available in the market.

However, there can be a ton of other reasons for these annoying noises. At times, it can be due to the wrong positioning of the machine or the pesky debris and dirt stuck in the machine. You might also listen to a weird vibration that can keep you up all night.

Or the humidifier in the machine might be causing this disturbance.

In the worst-case scenario, the machine might be making sounds because of the leaking mask.

In any case, treating the problem is inevitable.

How Quiet Should Your Machine Be?

This is a common question asked by new users. In general, the machine should be quiet enough to allow you to enjoy a sound sleep. Some machines are quieter than others, however, all machines make a sound to some level.

Never expect a CPAP machine to serve you with a pin drop silence.

Ideally, the machine should operate at about 30 decibels or lower (it will make a sound slightly louder than a whisper), and if that is not the case, you can always work on reducing CPAP machine noise.

If your machine is making more noticeable sounds, you will need to follow the below-shared tips for reducing the CPAP machine noise.

Tips On How To Make A CPAP Machine Quieter

Luckily, CPAP machine noise reduction is an easy process.

Let’s review some of the most effective ways you can get rid of those annoying sounds and enjoy a peaceful sleep at night.

Repositioning The Machine

man with sleep apnea and cpap machine

It would help if you always started by repositioning the machine. This is the most common cause of hearing the sounds as you sleep through the night. So if you are not sharing the bedroom with anyone, relocating the machine to a level lower than your ear might do the job.

Ideally, the CPAP machine must be placed on a clean surface (placing it on a carpet is a big no-no). Ensure that the surface holding the machine does not have much debris, dirt, or particles on it because these might get into the machine – and the lungs.

Placing the machine on a dirty surface means you are risking your lungs and can end up having allergic reactions too, plus it can be noisy.

This problem can be treated with the help of dedicated CPAP cleaning products.

In any case, it is important to keep your mask clean and hygienic. Luckily there is a wide range of affordable products available in the market that you can use to sterilize the mask easily at home. 

Regular cleaning of the mask will also prevent the debris and dirt from entering the machine and making weird sounds.

Make Sure That There Are No Leakages

If you notice weird sounds during the inhaling stage, there is a leakage in the machine. It generally occurs because the mask is not properly sealed to the face. The loose mask allows the air to escape from the sides and causes excessive noise.

Not only is this noise annoying, but it can also compromise the functionality of the CPAP machine.

It will eventually lead to having an adverse impact on airflow and pressure. Moreover, if the leak is severe, the machine will stop delivering the specific therapeutic perks.

Besides noises and reduced benefits, this leak will also cause dry eyes. This is because the mask is not fully sealed to your face; hence it will blow air directly to your eyes – causing dryness and itching.

The solution is simple, just the mask and reposition it for a better fit, but sometimes, the only solution might be to replace the mask with a new one. Experts suggest replacing the mask every 6 months as this will help you avoid problems associated with leakage.

Functioning Of The Humidifier

humidifier of cpap machine for sleep apnea

The performance of your humidifier has a major role in reducing CPAP machine noise. Most of the modern models of CPAP machines come with built-in humidifiers. They keep the airway sufficiently moist and avoid issues like dry air tracts.

It further helps in reducing the discomfort that one may experience while using a CPAP machine. However, they have their own disadvantages, for instance, they need regular maintenance. Plus, they may disturb your sleep.

To avoid the problem, you need to check the water level in the humidifier regularly. If the water depletes, you will experience a telltale sound. We generally call this CPAP whistle, and this may sound similar to the sound of gurgling.

Just replacing the water will be enough to deal with the problem at this stage.

CPAP Pillow

Another major issue people face while sleeping with CPAP machines is to enjoy a comfortable night with the mask fixed to their face. Many people find it difficult, and it often leads to the dislodging of the mask, hence causing a leakage.

The best solution for this problem is to buy CPAP pillows.

They’ll help in stabilizing the seal on a mask while allowing you to change sides and sleep comfortably.

These are memory foam pillows that are designed to conform user’s neck and face while accommodating a specific shape for the CPAP hose and mask. These pillows have an ergonomic design with highly flexible neck support.

Whether you’re a belly, back, or side sleeper, these pillows are a must-have.

Use White Noise

Are you the one who sleeps to television or music?

Do you have no issues drifting off?

If yes, then you are lucky. However, many people have difficulty as their brain can’t keep their focus off the lyrics or dialogues, and hence they experience wakefulness and have difficulty relaxing. If you are one such person, a white noise device might be ideal for you.

These devices facilitate the filtration of disturbing sounds without detracting the brain.

They help you enjoy a soothing night with high-fidelity nature sounds. No more upset noisy nights for you, now!

White noise machines can help you feel peaceful with soothing sounds like raindrops, thunderstorms, ocean waves, chirping crickets, and many more from the treasure of nature.

 Moreover, they surely help neutralize the sound of CPAP machines and allow you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep while you breathe uninterruptedly.

Replacing Your CPAP Machine

If nothing is working for you and the machine is still making weird sounds, this might be a sign to change your machine.

These machines can be expensive, but it’s always worth investing in. If you are sure that the mask is sealing properly and the hose is not obstructed, the humidifier is working fine, and the machine is placed appropriately, then it’s probably the machine itself.

Luckily, with time, medical technology has become sophisticated. The same is true for the CPAP machines. Today you can find a wide range of reliable options that are easy to manage, self-cleaning, and far much quieter.

Chances are high that you will find a perfect noise-free option in your budget.

However, the importance of maintenance can’t be understated either.

Even if you are not getting disturbed by the noise or another issue while using the machine, taking care of the device is always recommended. You must allocate time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to check the health of the attached equipment.

It will add years to the machine and help you enjoy better sleep without any delay. Regular cleaning with the right equipment and replacing the broken accessories with the right ones is a good way to start.

But if nothing works, you should go for a replacement.

cpap machine with nose hose

FAQ Section

Here are some of the answers to some common questions in this regard:

Why is my CPAP machine too noisy?

The CPAP machines make noise for several reasons. This can be because the machine has reached its age and is too old to be used anymore. In such cases, replacing the machine with a brand new one is the only solution.

However, the sounds can be due to the wrong placement or improper use of the machine.

For instance, you place the machine at an uneven surface or above the ear level as you rest in your bed or couch. In such cases, you need to allocate proper and clean space at a reasonable level. Better yet, keep it on a sturdy, clean surface lower than the level of the ear.

At other times the noise generates because of improper placement of the masks.

The mask must fit well on your face, and there is no space left for the air to leave the mask as you breathe. External dirt, dust, and debris can also cause sounds as it hinders the functioning of the machine.

Moreover, the water level in the humidifier can also lead to noises as you use the mask through the night.

Is there a silent CPAP machine?

Yes, with the advancement in medical technology, there are several companies that offer quieter CPAP machines. However, none of them is completely silent. Because of the working methods, the machine will always make some noise.

However, the normal noise is nothing more than a whisper.

You can search online to buy a range of products from several brands and under different price tags.

Some of the best-selling options in this regard include:

  1. AirSense 10 CPAP Machine: https://www.resmed.com/en-us/healthcare-professional/products-and-support/devices/airsense-10-cpap/
  2. Philips DreamStation CPAP Machine: https://www.homehealth.estore.philips.com/Philips-Global-Category/sleep/sleep-therapy/dreamstation-family/dreamstation-cpap-w-humidifier/p/DSX200H11?_ref=ca-wtb&_refv=2259808730
  3. Z2 Auto Travel CPAP Machine: https://www.cpap.com/productpage/z2-auto-travel-cpap-machine

Can a CPAP machine be repaired to reduce the noise?

It depends on the type of damage your CPAP machine is facing. Generally, the damage occurs if the machine is not cleaned or use properly. For instance, if you are not placing it on a clean place and an even surface, you might face debris issues in the machine.

It will surely hurt the performance of the machine.

Therefore always make sure the machine is placed properly and away from any element that can result in the accumulation of dirt in the mask or any other part of the machine. However, if it still occurs, use the cleaners to clean off all the dust from the machine.

Another repairable damage is the loose mask. It can be a result of improper use of the mask as you sleep, loosening it on your face. In such cases, you cannot deal with any repair. The only solution is to replace the mask with a new one.

You can easily buy a range of reliable, economic, and suitable replacements in the market.

Moreover, if the damage is due to using a dried-off humidifier, you might need a replacement.

Once again, in this condition, you cannot repair the problem. If you keep ignoring the water level in the humidifier for long, the only solution will be to replace the entire CPAP machine with a brand new item.

Before we wind things up, here is a super-helpful YouTube video explaining what sleep apnea is:

Final Thoughts!

With a simple CPAP machine, you can deal with the sleep problem. However, with any other technological product in the market, CPAP machines also come with some cons and damages that appear with time. The annoying noise is one of the common issues users reports.

This noise can be due to several reasons. However, these problems can easily be treated at home. All you need to do is to pay proper attention to the placement and usage of the machine. You may also need to look after the cleaning of the machine periodically.

However, if nothing works, replacing the machine with a new one is the most suitable option.

We have shared some product details during the discussion, but there are many more options available to explore and buy.

Choose the best one to enjoy peaceful sleep at night.

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