You may have experienced common technology issues with some of your everyday items—like when your smartphone suddenly won’t hold a charge or your laptop will no longer connect to the Internet—and CPAP equipment can be susceptible to similar dilemmas. Unlike a cell phone that no longer reaches a full battery, though, a CPAP machine whining noise doesn’t necessarily mean the device no longer works.
Those who are just beginning their sleep apnea journey and those who have been diagnosed for decades may notice a pesky whining noise coming from their CPAP machine at some point throughout their treatment. It may be helpful to know that this can be a common problem and is usually no cause for concern.
A CPAP machine making noise may leave you wondering if your equipment is faulty, but there are several reasons your machine might make excessive noise—and it could be an easy fix.
Exactly How Quiet Should My CPAP Machine Be?
Some CPAP machines are quieter than others, but all CPAP machines do make some level of noise. Most CPAP machines operate around (or below) 30 decibels, which is only slightly louder than a whisper. The sound level of your CPAP machine depends on which machine you have. (Keep in mind that the volume of some auto-adjusting CPAP machines may increase as your machine produces more air.)
If your CPAP machine begins making a new whining or whistling noise—especially if it disrupts sleep for you or your partner—it’s worth investigating the sound to ensure your CPAP equipment fits correctly and is working well.
How to Fix a Whistling or Whining CPAP Machine
It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep with whistling or whining sounds permeating your bedroom. Since there are several reasons that could contribute to aggravating CPAP equipment noises, it’s important to be thorough as you search for the cause.
Across sleep apnea forums, some users write about ResMed AirSense 10 noise, noting their experience with their ResMed CPAP machine making high-pitched noises. Some machines tend to make more noise than others, so if you or your partner are light sleepers, it’s worth reviewing these whisper-quiet options for quiet CPAP therapy—especially if you have the AirSense 10 from ResMed or something similar. (Check out our top recommendations for best CPAP machines overall, too!)
Make Sure Your CPAP Mask Fits
A well-fitting CPAP mask should provide a comfortable fit and a secure seal that doesn’t let air escape. Hearing CPAP noise when inhaling can be indicative of a leak. Wearing a mask with a loose fit can cause the pressurized air to leak, which could be causing the high–pitched whistling sound you hear. Try adjusting your mask with the headgear straps; if it doesn’t help, you may need a new cushion in a different size.
CPAP mask noise can also be caused by a cracked frame, damaged cushion, or clogged diffuser. If you discover the cushion is damaged, replace it immediately. Making modifications with tape or glue can further damage your equipment and even void warranties. A clogged diffuser can be cleaned out with a toothbrush or bristle brush, which will work to remove trapped particles. Should you determine there isn’t any visible damage to your mask, it’s time to inspect the hose and its connection.
Observe the Hose Connection
Have you ever plugged your iPad in and noticed it isn’t charging? Suddenly, you’re panicking thinking your iPad is defective when, with relief, you discover it works just fine—you were just using a bad outlet. That can happen with your CPAP equipment, too. Whistling can be caused by leaking air from an improper hose-to-machine connection; if you suspect this is the case, simply unplug it and re-adjust to a proper fit.
Additionally, cracks and holes can cause the CPAP machine whining noise, too. If your CPAP hose is damaged, be sure to replace it as quickly as possible. To help care for your hose and keep it in good condition, consider a hose suspension system.
Replace Your CPAP Filters
Regularly replacing filters can ensure your CPAP therapy is effective and can help prolong the lifespan of your CPAP equipment, plus it will cut down on any whining noises. Depending on the brand or style, your CPAP filters should be replaced every two to four weeks and washed once weekly with warm, soapy water.
Check Your Humidifier
Using a humidifier during your sleep apnea treatment—which adds moisture to airflow—can help you sleep more comfortably, but damage to the humidifier and water chamber over time can cause whistling sounds. Look for cracks around the equipment and plan to replace your humidifier every three to five years, depending on the brand. Never use the humidifier without water inside the chamber.
Consider a White Noise Machine
If you’ve determined the CPAP machine whining noise you’re experiencing is not caused by an improper fit, a leak, or damaged accessories, you may benefit from using a white noise machine—especially if you are newly diagnosed with sleep apnea. White noise machines can block out CPAP machine noises and promote a more relaxing bedroom environment. These devices create soothing ambient noise and natural sounds, like crashing waves and falling rain, aimed to help you and your partner get higher-quality sleep.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Current CPAP Machine?
Like your cell phone or laptop, your CPAP equipment isn’t designed to last forever. With around six to eight hours of use each day, your machine and mask will eventually need to be replaced. When you are researching new equipment, it’s worthwhile to consider upgrading your CPAP devices and accessories. Other than outdated equipment, changes in technology or your current sleep therapy treatment (like new pressure settings) are great reasons to upgrade your CPAP set-up, too.
If your insurance hasn’t upgraded your machine in five years or you can no longer find the parts you need for your machine or mask, it’s definitely time to upgrade your current CPAP equipment. Many newer machines and masks offer quieter motors and masks, plus some have new technology features like auto–titration and advanced sleep data reporting.
Fortunately, CPAP machine noise issues can be easily be corrected most of the time by ensuring proper equipment fit or by replacing worn-out parts. If you’re still experiencing CPAP machine whining noise after following these tips and tricks, you may need to completely repair or replace your current equipment. Our online catalog is full of the products and adds-on you need to make your sleep apnea treatment comfortable and successful—and free of annoying whining noises!