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Mom is making a constant groan, hum, growl, sigh noise. It gets very loud at night and it drives us nuts. Help!

Answered by David Troxel

March 27, 2014

Mom is making a constant groan, hum, growl, sigh noise. It gets very loud at night and it drives us nuts. It never stops except when she sleeps. Help!

I can understand your frustration. Here are a few questions and considerations.

Is it really constant? Usually I find that this behavior will stop under certain situations, e.g. meal time, outings, singing or listening to music, enjoying ice cream cones, etc. If it does stop during those times try to program more of these opportunities, e.g. having music playing in her room.

Does it stop when you are talking with her, giving her a hand rub or engaging her? If so, try to expand her activities to fight boredom (which can lead to this behavior).

The behavior you describe could be a sign of pain. Check for ill-fitting dentures or other pain issues. One geriatrician I know even tries a round of extra strength Tylenol to see if that can impact the behavior (check with your doctor since I can’t give medical advice!)

Behavior like that of your mother can indicate an advance of her Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. The brain is being damaged and in these situations it is very difficult to change her behavior. You and your family thus may need to work on your own reaction to her behavior, trying to reinforce your sense of humor, hum with her or put on a good pair of ear plugs at night!

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. June 4, 2016 at 09:43 pm
    Posted by jerri

    The elderly lady next to my sister's bed at the nursing home moans constantly, whether in pain or enjoying tv. When upset, she gets worse, gurgling or rattling. She actually began to moan more after Carol began calling the nurse for her; the woman is too ill to ring for them herself. We concluded the sound is basically for attention and emotional expression.
  2. April 3, 2014 at 08:00 pm
    Posted by Joanne

    Some day you will wish you could still hear her .
  3. April 3, 2014 at 07:09 pm
    Posted by Larenda Johnson

    I have lost 3 loved ones to this horrible disease. The repetitive motions and words are very common. I have a condition called Misophonia which makes it nearly impossible to tolerate repetitive motions/ sounds. Even though I know the problem is me, and uncontrollable, it has to be dealt with effectively or it would drive me insane. The clear wax ear plugs block out all sound and you can put a MTV earplug in and the earplug over. For repetitive motion, buy sunglasses, pop out one sense and put furnace tape over the other. Block out the motion from field of vision.

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