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Are CPAP Machines Loud?Why Does My CPAP Make So Much Noise?11 Noise Reduction Tips For Your CPAP MachineQuietest CPAP MachinesFinal Thoughts
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How To Reduce CPAP Machine Noise? 11 Experts Tips That Actually Work

Jan 03, 2024
· 7 mins read

CPAP machines are the most common treatment method recommended by doctors for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. These devices help patients breathe normally by delivering a continuous stream of pressurized air to their nose and mouth, enabling them to sleep well all night.

Although most CPAP machines operate at considerably low noise levels, they aren't 100% silent; many of them produce a continuous sound while running.

While the sound is rarely loud, some people may still find it disturbing. This is especially true for light sleepers, who may get awakened due to the novelty of CPAP therapy in the initial days and for those whose bed partners complain about the sound.

But, if your CPAP machine seems louder than it should be, another issue might be causing the noise. In such cases, dealing with the underlying problem can help reduce CPAP nose to a great extent. 

Are CPAP Machines Loud?

Sound is measured in decibels (dB), which represent the intensity or loudness of a sound. Below is a decibel scale with examples of common sounds at each level.

Most CPAP machines produce a sound level between 26-30 dB, which is the sound of a quiet library of a whispered conversation.


Decibel Level (dB)

Example Sound

0 dBThreshold of hearing
10 dBRustling leaves
20 dBWhispering
30 dBQuiet library
40 dBQuiet residential area
50 dBLight rain
60 dBNormal conversation
70 dBBusy traffic
80 dBAlarm clock
90 dBSubway train (at a distance)
100 dBChainsaw
110 dBRock concert
120 dBThunder
130 dBJet takeoff (at a distance)
140 dBFireworks
150 dBJet engine at close range

Why Does My CPAP Make So Much Noise?

A noisy CPAP is unsettling and may disturb sleep. What's causing this unusual sound from your device? Here are some reasons why your CPAP might be making noise:

1. Motor Failure:

With hours of use every night, the motor in your CPAP will eventually degrade and can start to make noises. If your CPAP is reaching the end of its lifespan, motor failure may be the culprit. 

2. Older Machines:

Older CPAP machines, especially those over several years old, may produce vibrations and humming sounds. Consider upgrading to newer models designed for quieter operation, with the most silent ones operating between 26-30 dB.

3. Filter Replacement:

Similar to changing your AC filter, replacing your CPAP machine's filter is essential. Accumulated dust in the filter can contribute to increased noise levels. Maintain a consistent filter replacement schedule to prevent this issue.

4. Moisture Build-up:

Excess moisture in the mask and tubing can lead to issues like rainout and gurgling sounds. Proper maintenance to address moisture build-up is crucial to ensure a quieter CPAP experience.

5. Leaks:

Wearing a mask that is too large allows pressurized air to escape, resulting in a whistling sound. Ensure your mask size is appropriate to prevent leaks and minimize noise.

6. Incorrect Mask Fit:

Improperly fitting masks can lead to leaks, disrupting the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy and causing unwanted noise. Strive for a snug yet comfortable fit to avoid these issues.

7. Old CPAP Equipment:

Regular replacement of CPAP supplies is integral for hygiene, effective treatment, and noise reduction. If it's been a while since you last replaced your supplies, especially if you notice signs such as tube stretching, water chamber cracking, or a chipped mask frame, consider updating your CPAP equipment.

CPAP Noise

11 Noise Reduction Tips For Your CPAP Machine

Addressing the noise from your CPAP machine is important not only because it enhances your comfort but also because there might be something wrong. This, in turn, can mean that you are not getting the full benefit of your sleep therapy and will lead to inconsistent usage.

Here are 11 expert tips to reduce the noise from your CPAP: 

1. Ensure Your CPAP Mask Is Properly Fitted And Adjusted

Sometimes, the noise does not come from the CPAP machine but from the mask. Your CPAP mask should be compatible with your device and properly fitted to your face. As a pro tip, fit your CPAP mask while lying in your usual sleeping position for higher accuracy. 

2. Make Sure Your Mask is The Right Size

Proper mask and cushion sizing allow for a comfortable and leak-free experience. Adjust your headgear straps evenly without over-tightening them, which can lead to mask leaks and face marks. If necessary, get in touch with our sleep specialists.

Take our CPAP Mask Quiz! It's completely FREE

3. Keep the Machine Below Ear Level

Another simple method to reduce the noise from your CPAP device is placing it below your ear level so that the noise doesn't reach your ears directly. We don't recommend keeping your device on the floor or carpet, as it can block the normal airflow of the machine. Instead, you can put it on a low table or stool that keeps it below your bed level. Take a look at our recommended nightstands for CPAP machines

4. Adjust the Water Level in The Humidifier

If your machine has a built-in CPAP humidifier and produces bubbly noises when you use it, the sound is probably due to a humidification issue. Check the water level in the reservoir and the humidity setting, as both can affect your CPAP machine's noise level. 

5. Use a Heated Hose

If your CPAP machine supports it, consider using a heated hose. Heated hoses can reduce condensation buildup, which may contribute to noise. 

6. Use Earplugs & Sleep Mask

Earplugs are an easy, affordable, and effective way to block out sounds that could otherwise interfere with your sleep, like CPAP machine noise or your partner's snoring. When paired with a sleep mask, it can enhance the overall quality of sleep by effectively blocking out light and promoting deeper sleep. 

7. Use a White Noise Machine

White noise contains all frequencies across the audible sound spectrum in equal measure. White noise is similar to the sound of a vacuum humming or a running fan. 

This consistency helps mask background noises that may otherwise disrupt sleep. Many individuals find the neutral and consistent sound of white noise provides a soothing ambiance conducive to improved sleep. Incorporating a white noise machine into your sleep routine can be a valuable strategy, especially for mitigating the noise emitted by a CPAP machine, thus promoting a quieter and more restful sleep environment. 

8. Invest in a Quieter CPAP Machine

Newer models are equipped with quieter motors and improved noise reduction features. If your current machine is excessively noisy, consider upgrading to a quieter model. The quietest CPAP machines deliver therapy at 30 decibels or less. 

9. Change CPAP Filters Regularly

A fresh filter change can improve the performance of your CPAP machine and reduce the noise level by keeping dust and dirt out of your machine’s motors. The more dirt caught in the motor, the louder it will run, so keeping the filter nice and clean will go a long way! Plus, changing the filter will prolong the lifespan of your device and provide healthier therapy. 

10. Place an Anti-Vibration Pad Under Your CPAP Machine

Place anti-vibration pads under your CPAP machine to absorb any vibrations that might be transmitted to the surface it's resting on. This can be particularly helpful if your machine is on a nightstand or bedside table. A towel or foam pad also works. 

11. Explore Customized Settings

Familiarize yourself with the settings on your CPAP machine. Some machines have adjustable settings for ramp time, pressure levels, and other variables. Experimenting with these settings may help you find a combination that minimizes noise without compromising therapy. 

Quietest CPAP Machines

Whether you’re looking for a CPAP machine for travel or home use, we’ve compiled a list of the quietest CPAP machines available, delivering therapy at 30 decibels or less. 

Final Thoughts

While everyone may perceive sound differently, finding a CPAP machine with minimal noise is possible, ensuring both you and your partner a quieter and more restful sleep environment. Implement our suggestions for quieter operation, or consider upgrading to one of the market's most noise-efficient CPAP machines.

For those navigating the selection process for their initial or subsequent CPAP machine, our CPAP experts are available to answer any questions and guide you in choosing the right CPAP device for your needs.

Remember, the CPAP therapy journey includes some trial and error, but when you find what works for you, you'll be able to maintain consistency and reap the benefits of sleep apnea therapy.
Gabriela Alvarado

Medically reviewed: Gabriela Alvarado

Medical Doctor from the Central University of Venezuela. She holds certifications in Public Health Practice from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University (USA) and Imperial College London (UK).

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