Tips for Sleeping with Noisy CPAP Machines

August 19, 2016

Tips for Sleeping with Noisy CPAP Machines

Back when I was diagnosed with OSA, my first CPAP machine sounded something like a leaky air mattress on cargo plane.  It was neither soothing nor quiet.  But technology has changed and now most new CPAP masks and devices are almost silent.  That doesn’t mean what little sound they do make isn’t annoying, especially to someone new to CPAP therapy.

If the sound of your CPAP device is more like nails on a chalkboard, here are some tips that may silence it further:

  • Check the air filter on your CPAP machine. These filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly, depending on the brand and manufacturer’s recommendations.  I’m a neat-freak. My friends tell me my place is always ‘operating room clean’.  But I live in a city and like to sleep with the window open.  So I change my CPAP machine’s filter every 2 weeks.  Some recommend every 3.  Sometimes, the filter can become blocked with a tiny piece of tissue or even a feather from a pillow.  That could be enough to make your CPAP machine work harder and get noisier.
  • Have it checked by a professional. If there’s nothing blocking the filter, a closer look at the intake and mechanics may be required.  You can take your CPAP machine to your doctor or clinician.  They should know what to do with it.
  • Look into replacing your noisy CPAP machine. Some older machines are just loud.  Technology has come a long way, even in just the last few years.  One of our favorites here at is the new DreamStation Pro with heated humidifier.  It’s an investment, but super quiet! 


If you can’t replace your machine, consider some low-tech help:  earplugs.  They make a huge difference and really cancel out a lot of the ambient sound.  One of my co-workers swears by his white noise machine.  They can be pretty cheap and are often on sale.  The static noise will mask the sound of the CPAP machine and can be pretty hypnotic, too.

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