Hums Constantly

by Joan
(Fresno, CA, USA)

My mother hums constantly, from the moment she wakes until she goes to bed. She's 87. It's not all humming either, it's grunting and hissing sounds.


I've heard the same tunes and grunts and hisses for years. It's driven me bonkers. She hums while eating, while in the doctor's office, the car, anywhere. I can even hear the hums through the walls if I sit outside to get away from it.

It's so annoying and distracting. If I ever do mention it to her, she'll go ballistic and take it very personal. Don't know how much longer I can contain myself. Never heard of anyone doing this. Must be some type of disorder.

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Dementia
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I don't know how old this thread is, but I'm joining in too. It sounds like many of the above situations are from dementia - whether the vascular or Alzheimer's kind. It can manifest itself in many ways. Others, as mentioned, are probably from other reasons.

My mom, 90, has moderate dementia (no longer "mild", alas). She does a regular grunt or chuckle when I'm around. It can be every 10 seconds or every 2 minutes. If she's very engrossed in reading something (thankfully, she can still read even if she doesn't retain it), if music is playing, or if she's into a TV show, then she stops.

She also stops when I'm out of the room. The noises her way of acknowledging me and showing that she's participating/listening in the show/conversation/activity. Oddly enough, I think she thinks it's polite - like she's showing me she's interested.

I also find that the more uncomfortable she is, the more she grunts or chuckles. She ooh and ahh more over food she *doesn't* like, trying to be polite. But, if she does like it, I don't hear as much. And, she has minimal taste anyway, so it makes no sense.

I sing in a quartet, and we were late getting to a rehearsal recently - I bring her and we're always late now - so I decided to warm up in the car so I could join right in when I got there. (She's heard the warm-ups before.)

I think they made her uncomfortable - having someone singing right next to her - and she grunted/chuckled every 15 seconds, so much that I couldn't handle it and just stopped singing.

I have not pointed it out to her though. First - 'cause I'm trying to be polite, Second - 'cause I doubt she'll recall later that she's doing it.

I am 100% certain it's from my mom's dementia. She's on a couple medications, and she eats pretty well, exercises a bit, and she has a wide variety of activities each week. Still, it persists. I have done as some here do - left the room when she's grunting about the food.

I say I have to check an email or some such. I do feel bad about it, but as her primary caregiver, I need to keep my sanity. We have one paid caregiver who comes in once a week, and hope to add another.

I need time to myself so that I'm more relaxed and patient when we're together. We have some Bose sound-cancelling headphones I could wear, but that would really be rude. :-(

Best wishes to all.

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Annoying
by: Anonymous

My Dad does this he is 78 he makes groaning noises all the time and does loud ex haling, and really exaggerated loud coughing and sneezing, loud singing and humming he even puts the radio on and hums over it .

I think it could be an attention thing or a sign of contempt , if you mention it he sulks like a child. Maybe that generations way of getting attention or showing disapproval, I don't understand but it certainly alienates people.

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spray with water
by: Anonymous

To discourage unwanted behavior, rattle a can of coins, blow in their in their face , or even spray them with water every time they Grunt....I AM JUST KIDDING...but perhaps some of this unwanted behavior could be discouraged by asking them to read something or do something that requires them to concentrate enough that mindless noises will interfere with the oral noises.

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Be nice but let them lnow
by: Anonymous

I have started humming quietly and at 58 have been concerned I'm moving toward Alzheimer's and it's freaking frightening! My 18 year old daughter kindly tells me when I'm doing it and I stop. I catch myself doing it and stop. It's not even country songs I like, it's a random tune.

I do not want to end up alienating everyone so I am going to get a rubber band and pop myself or chew gum or listen to more music ( vs talk radio). I am so scared I may do this when I'm substituting in schools and a student will report and I'll be kept from subbing at a school because I'm a hummer. Pray for us.

And having placed my mother in law in assisted living years ago after her major stroke was s blessing for all of us and she was the happiest! So it is a good option for some of y'all .

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Enlightening Comments
by: Anonymous

I hum constantly. I am only 44 years old. I have done it for years, probably my whole life. I have other issues: childhood abuse, Borderline personality disorder, PTSD, anxiety...

I've been aware of my humming for about 10 years, but have not been able to stop! I'm able to stop biting my nails, deal with addictions, etc, whatever and whenever I set my mind to it. But I cannot stop humming. I'm embarrassed and ashamed. Reading lots of info online and seems no one with this problem has ever been able to stop!

I just wanted to say that these comments, though honest, make me more embarrassed, ashamed, and hopeless. Now I know what others around me are really thinking! Really not in a good place now. :(

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Drown it out with music
by: Anonymous

Try playing music. Maybe it will disrupt their humming, due to the distraction? It's worth a try.

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Incredibly annoying!!!
by: Anonymous

I have two friends who have begun to do this. One is in his 70s and this started a couple of years ago.

He either hums or whistles constantly. The other is in her 50s and she even hums between swallowing bites of food. It's so annoying, I don't want to meet her for meals anymore.

I get it that they both are likely suffering with brain disorders related to aging (and that it could happen to me too!), but my nerves can't handle being around it...

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Demonic Possession Or Disorder
by: Anonymous

She's doing it on purpose to annoy you or it's a disorder. No question about it. I understand how it drives you bonkers.

There is a demonic spirit behind her and if you rebuke it in the name of Jesus persistently, it will have to stop.

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Dear elle
by: Anonymous

I suggest you serve your mothers dinner before u eat yours. Maybe take yours to another room and watch tv....alone. Tell her u have decided to eat later in the evening which will probably be too late for an elderly person. That's what I did with my mother and it worked out. Good luck.👍

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Oh thank God.
by: Anonymous

Honestly thought I was alone with this. It's CONSTANT.,. this niggling sound in Your ear like a bug.

So freaking annoying and not does she go ballistic if you mention it.

Happy to read the posts and know I'm not alone, but I notice there are no responses from anyone with any real info here..... I really wish someone would say something TO HELP .....!!!!!

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Humming
by: Anonymous

My husband has hummed since I have known him 38 years he is 58 now. It's getting worse, he makes noises when he eats, and I don't go to bed until he is asleep at night because of the noises he makes.

He sighs so loud, yawns so loud, his parents did the same thing. At first I thought it was learned behavior, now he wears clothing that is too small for him, wears clothing that is inappropriate for certain occasions.

His latest thing is laughing inappropriately, if something is sad to a "normal" person he laughs.
It's wearing on my nerves.qu

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She's driving me crazy!
by: Anonymous

Well what is this called or why is this happening? My sister does this sporadically.

It isn't a tune she hums it's just noise and she too gets upset when I mention it. Why can't they stop???

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Noise for Noise's sake?
by: Anonymous

My older brother (70) lives with me only for convenience, as he is able to care for himself.

BUT...he makes grunting and groaning noises constantly, and hums or whistles all the time. He says it's because he's not comfortable with quiet. Maybe a comfort thing?

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Hum back to coworker
by: Anonymous

I have noticed myself humming sometimes at work, driving to work, at home - for the last 3-4 years. I am 56.

It was usually only when I was very stressed out or inundated with deadlines. I catch myself humming as I am going in to work and tell myself to CUT IT OUT. What will stop me immediately is if someone starts to gently hum, I stop immediately because I wasn't aware that I was doing this.

No one has ever brought it to my attention at work, but everyone is so kind and all it takes is for someone to nicely softly hum. Immediately I get it and stop.

I would hate to bother anyone. I have told my nearest coworkers that I start humming when extremely stressed and try to catch myself.

One side note, I was searching the web to research why I hum and found this site. I understand that the humming and noises described are maddening. Two things we have to remind ourselves of: how will I be when I am their age and what ticks will I have - our children are watching and listening to us as to how we treat and tolerate our parents / what goes around comes around.

And finally, when we were babies and teenagers, they put up with a lot of our crying, ranting teenage hormones etc. My dad is loud, and doesn't stop talking all day or screaming because of the news and politics. Keep reminding myself to treat him the way I would want to be treated - with respect. Practicing patience big time.

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Mother hums and has labored breathing
by: Anonymous

My mom has been diagnosed with bipolar. She hums constantly and does not know it. I've gotten used to that but the rhythmic breathing scares me. It seems like she is out of breath.

She says that she doesn't realize that she does it. It makes me anxious because I think she can't breathe.

I read on here a lot of people saying they can't wait till they leave,but what if that was you?

Would you want to be isolated from everyone because of a habit that you control.

People look at my mother funny.....did I mention she makes funny faces too..but I bet one thing they better not hurt her feelings or I'll be humming on them.

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Silence is a Luxury
by: Anonymous

My elderly infirm parents moved in with my family. My father whistles about 50% of the time (no well, very windy). My mother HUMS 90% of the time... it is driving everyone in the house crazy.

If she is not interested in the program or conversation she get louder. It is downright rude.

She claims she has no idea she is doing it however, she will stop if she is interested in a show. I have been suffering from headaches due to this constant noise. I am losing my mind.

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Thank you
by: Anonymous

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have found this feed. Oh my GAWD...the incessant humming is driving me insane. I am a professor and a writer- so my concentration is key to my livelihood.

I honestly cannot THINK when this is going on (which is always). So, I have to pay to write in restaurants or go to a library where there is no humming.

To the person who said even if they go outside to get away from it, they can still hear...YES!! I come into the garage after work and I hear the humming as soon as I get out of my car.

To those who shame us because this humming is frying our nerves, shame on you. If you haven't walked this walk of being sole caretaker of someone who does this, don't comment on scenery you haven't seen.

Everything looks clear when it's not you. Just like we all knew EVERYTHING before we had kids! lol

Thank you so much for your stories. My father isn't humming songs either. It is just loud baritone humming. He sounds like an ominously large gnat...his voice is booming and it reverberates.

Bless you all.

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He's driving me stir crazy
by: Anonymous

For crying out loud my grandad is driving me up the f**king wall with his constant bloody humming, all sodding day even when he's eating (which is torture enough, listening to him slapping his chops through a sandwich which takes him an hour to eat).

Can't stand being around him which is very sad. I feel so guilty but I cant take it. It takes over everything & I can't concentrate on anything else.

I feel like screaming shut up. I know he can't help it but for the love of God I wish he would just shut up

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I'm becoming convinced these humming sounds are a result of brain damage
by: Anonymous

I have become fascinated with unconscious humming since my infant daughter, now 3yo, started humming a loud monotone hum while concentrating on certain things.

I have been searching out uncontrolled humming and hummers steadily for a couple of years.

Doctors are of absolutely no help.

I have begun to come to the conclusion that the humming has to do with brain damage. I believe the hummer will hum while the brain is attempting to create new neural networks to compensate for the damaged area.

The type of humming, and more specifically what triggers the humming has to do with where the damage has occurred in the brain.

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Humming Spouse
by: Anonymous

My 63 year old husband hums non-stop from the time he wakes up until he hums himself to sleep at night.

The last couple of years he has added this little "grunting" sound to his repertoire which comes on later in the day, especially if he has been drinking alcohol.

Family, friends and complete strangers have commented on it, usually in unfavorable terms. He says he is unaware he is doing it, apologizes, then goes right back to humming.

The way I see it, he feels this false-modesty apology gets him off the hook for annoying people and gives him an excuse to continue humming and grunting without feeling responsible.

In addition to all this daily noise, he snores loudly all night. As you can tell, I am utterly fed up with it and emotionally exhausted.

People who have this bad habit should step outside themselves for just a moment and realize how they are affecting others. It is not a benign little habit.

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It's not MUSIC
by: Anonymous

I believe it's the first obvious stage of Alzheimer's. My Grandmother had it, and I carry the genes (mom won't get tested), so I feel that dementia has a lot to do with it.

For those that think it's cruel to complain about an elderly parent doing this, I would like you to know it's very different than hearing a cheerful melody.

My mother's "noise making" goes from this un melodic, sometimes manic, or crazy humming noise, to grunts and other almost verbal sounds. But it's NOT music.

It's not a cheerful tune, it's like something you might imagine hearing in an insane asylum, or some creepy horror movie. ...and it's constant.

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Venomous mother additional comment
by: Anonymous

This is an update to my comment venous mother moving out. My angry defensive mother moved into a senior living facility. Independent living in apartments with no kitchens.

Meals are provided by the facility. Inside we are doing cartwheels! This was the best solution for everyone. She loves the activities and being around peers and we (my husband and I) love the peacefulness, privacy and overall serenity. Our environment at home went from a 3 to a 10.

All of our lives have greatly improved by mom moving out. No more pressure cooker existence. The stress is completely gone.

Mother is about 35 minutes drive. Close enough to visit, can spend the night for holidays but has her own place to hum grunt sigh and Moan to her hearts content and we don't have to hear any if it. My advice is to move them into their own area or facility so they can have their space. Not everyone grows old gracefully

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Mother inlaw incessant humming
by: Elle

I want to cry because I've found others how my through the same experience of an incessant hummer. My Mother in law is 70 and had increased these terrible sounds until I am almost beside myself with frustration.

She started humming the same tune over and over but now it is a a continuous grunt sound that never stops. She grunts while she eats while she showers while we watch TV, constantly and it is terrible.

She is a nasty manipulating woman with a string of Ex husbands and at first I thought it was another of her vicious mind games but now I wonder? She also talks over every single TV program that I watch and ruins my pleasure.

She makes stupid voices as well when addressing the cat or dog and continually demands your attention and I think the hum/grunt is another way of controlling us by doing something we cannot avoid.

I use earplugs on occasions like dinner or I cannot enjoy my meals. If you have any insight into stopping this please HELP!

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Only stops when asleep
by: Anonymous

So glad there are others in the same boat as me.

My mom lives with my family and has been humming/singing the same tune for the last year and only stops when she sleeps for 3hours . It's constant and is I driving us all nuts.

At one stage I thought she had become possessed but she has hibernated in her bedroom for the past 4years and refuses to interact .

She's also suffered a lot of rejection from my siblings and has been heartbroken by this so I think it may be a coping mechanism, I've resorted to herbal drinks and it seems to help her stop the humming for a few days. Doctors wouldn't help because they don't have to live with it

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Help I'm Going nuts
by: Beebee

I have also noticed my mom making grunting noises when she is awake. She also talks to herself and constantly curses and for no apparent reason.

She clicks her teeth together making a disturbing sound. She holds her lower jaw forward and looks like she has an under bite but she doesn't. She's never been the easiest person to get along with, but has now reached a whole new level.

She is two faced and judgemental and barely has any friends who still talk to her. She will complain about her medical conditions constantly to whomever she speaks with.

She is a hypochondriac and makes up illnesses.

She will ask frequently for me to take her to the emergency room for things like gas pain or have me take her blood pressure 10 times a day. She feels the need to be the center of attention all the time.

I am unfortunately her only surviving child, so she lives with my husband and I and she has caused many a problem between us. But I digress, (thanks for hearing my rant) the point is she does grunt a lot. And she will say she doesn't know why she does it. So I will continue to point it out 👍

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I feel your pain
by: CTS

My great uncle does this as well. For as long as I can remember, he has hummed the same tune every second of the day until he falls asleep.

If he's not humming, he's clearing his throat as loud as possible or shouting without even realizing it. You're right, it is very obnoxious. But it's to the point where he doesn't even acknowledge what he's doing anymore.

We've chalked it down to a couple things.

#1 he might have a constant ringing in his ears, and this tone covers it up

#2 from what I read online, it could be a defense mechanism or way to feel less lonely. Which makes total sense, nobody is going to say anything to him because they think he's bonkers. Both of these theories make a lot of sense.

Best way for me to not slam my head against the wall is to ignore it best as possible. Only when you're thinking about it is when it gets overwhelming. Old people are gross, but hey I guess time will tell because I haven't lived 70 years yet.

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Venomous mom moving out
by: KP

My 84 year old mother hums and sighs all day. Her yawning sounds like some type of wild animal. Her personality has changed and she is overly defensive and paranoid.

She speaks nicely to my husband but is always angry at me. Recently she has started trying to cause arguments and laughing if she thinks she is causing a problem.

She let one of our dogs out and when we began to look for the dog in the house, calling the dog, she sat quietly watching us looking for the dog.

When I opened the back door the black lab was outside, but hard to see because our mother didn't turn on the outside lights. My husband and I were trying to figure how one of us let only one dog out (it's all or none) and didn't turn our flood lights in the yard.

Mother sat quietly listening to us & laughing.

When I saw her I asked if she had let the lab out. She said yes. I asked her why she didn't say so, when she saw us looking for her. She shrugged. My mother is moving into a senior community this week so she can have more interaction with peers.

She has also left gas and open flame on the stove, so our safety is at risk. She is a very angry venomous person and I hope the move will help her have a better disposition. I'm looking forward to peacefulness and a big reduction in the stress level in the house, it's been like living in a pressure cooker...

I am relieved that I don't have to withstand any more verbal attacks or her trying to turn my husband against me... (He sees her for what she is and let's her know he loves me and try's to reason with her) Futile!

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Humming
by: Anonymous

My mom is 103 and as much as her humming is annoying I feel fortunate that she is still alive. The problem is worse at night when she can't sleep since her humming keeps everyone else awake.

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please help
by: Anonymous

I have a coworker she humming all time I don't what to do she only 52.

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Father hums constantly
by: Anonymous

Sounds like my father who is 77, his humming has come increasingly worse in the past few years. It is very painful for all the family especially my mother.

It is no fun sitting next to him at dinner time because of the constant grunts and groans he emits. He is also hard of hearing and has had some heart problems and is perpetually tired all the time.

He is overweight as well and it becomes worse when he is short of breath. Like some others on this thread, whenever we mention it he takes it personally and gets offended. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Mom does this also
by: Anonymous

My 88 year old mother hums constantly also. It seldom bothers me or my husband. We've gotten use to it and I think we must tune it out.

Sometimes I hum along with her. If it bothers me for some reason - I walk away to the bathroom and do some deep breathing. She's not aware she's doing it.

She's very hard of hearing and I always wondered if that was somehow a reason for her humming.

Never got a good answer from her doctor. Glad to know others experience this also. And I DO remember hearing folks in a nursing home making noises.

If she's happy... I'm happy. She stays busy with various activities. Sewing. Crocheting. Fabric painting. Making jewelry. Reading. Gardening - tending to plants on her deck porch outside her suite. I can't believe her humming is anxiety.

She doesn't seem to be anxious about anything.

But it must be a self-comforting thing. This started about 6 years ago. She was already living with us for 2 years.

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Moma's Driving Me Crazy
by: Anonymous

Yes, my Moma is also making those annoying sounds. She is 75. She grunts, hums, and makes mmm sounds.

When she is eating she also says yum yum yum all through the meal. I would never hurt her feelings about it, but it does drive me crazy! I do feel that it comforts her in some way and is also related to some anxiety.

I brought the grunting to her attention once and she said she didn't know she was doing it. I also have used ear plugs which really help me to tolerate it. I'm glad I could read about others with the same experiences.

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NOT "mildly annoying"
by: Anonymous

My husband has started humming constantly. And it is not "mildly annoying.' It is almost impossible to concentrate on anything with this constant sound.

I understand that it's an anxiety response, but it's akin to Chinese water torture.

What if someone you sat next to on a train spent the entire trip drumming his fingers on the armrest? This is 3x as loud and CONSTANT.

You can't read, or watch TV, or even sleep. I have started wearing ear plugs to bed, but now am worried about NOT hearing something important.

He is utterly unaware that he's doing it, and becomes very upset when I ask him to stop.

Surely someone has some suggestions other than "it must mean he's in a good mood."
Which it doesn't.

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CONSTANT Humming/Grunting
by: Anonymous

My mother is just short of 75 years of age. For at least the last 7 or 8 years she has been humming or grunting CONSTANTLY. It doesn't matter what she is doing; watching TV, reading the paper, cooking, eating-EVERY WAKING MINUTE.

It drives me nuts, frankly, and I have mentioned it to my dad. Apparently he did mention it to mom who just gave me a snarky remark "well, apparently my kids don't think I should be humming". What in hell causes this and how can I deal with it short of avoiding my mother completely?

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Whistling
by: Anonymous

With my 92 year old mother it is whistling - at least lips are pursed and air is blown out. It is the most annoying thing ever. It started about 5 years ago. I notice it happens more when her anxiety level goes up - minor social anxiety can trigger a big whistling session.

When it first started we used to joke with her about it. What are you whistling Mom? Moon River. Yeah right. HA HA HA.

Today we were in the doctors office and she was whistling away - uncontrollably. He asked if she always did that blowing sound. I explained about the whistling. He said it wasn't unusual for patients with COPD to develop a breathing strategy like that - it is comforting to them to hear the breath and feel it exhaled.

Said we should have it checked. (he wasn't that kind of a doctor but a lot more thorough than her internist) It was an interesting suggestion and makes some sense.

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It's Hell to get old!
by: Astonished

Wow, I read your post on your elderly Mom humming and making noises. I think at her age that fact that she can still walk, talk, hum is AMAZING!

What you need to consider is finding someone to watch over her that is not annoyed by her little habits.

Sometimes we are simply too close to the person and all of these little things seem to add up into one huge annoyance to us. Don't put yourself in that position. Let someone else care for your Mom that has a higher tolerance threshold than you do. Just come for short visits and then leave.

It's much healthier to do this than sit there and listen to this day/night till your own sanity is at risk.
Take care of you first and then you can take care of others.

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My Mother also Makes Different Sounds
by: Anonymous

My 88 year old mother puts a sound to her breathing. She breathes through her mouth so it sounds like labored breathing, as if she's having a hard time breathing and she's not, when I call it to her attention she closes her mouth and breathes through her nose, but will shortly go back to breathing out loud through her mouth.

Her mouth becomes so dry, it hinders her pronounciation, and makes it hard to understand what she's saying. She makes hissing sounds and she constantly burps out loud as loud as she can.

She sounds like a big man.

She clacks her tounge and makes "yum yum" sounds when she's eating something she likes especially sweets. When you're talking to her and she walks away from you she'll walk away and repeat your last sentence over and over and over for a while.

She doesen't seem to mind when I call these things to her attention. She just says she does not realize she's doing some of these things. The only annoing sound to me is the labored breathing sound because sometimes it's too consistent. I've asked her doctors about it but they don't give me an answer. Sure hope it's not a hederitary trait.

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