How the Habit of Humming Benefits the Elderly

Updated on May 1, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the prospect of joyful aging. She explores and shares habits of happy seniors.

Awakened by the Sound of a Melodic Hum

Minutes to midnight, I awake to the sound of a melodic hum. It is coming from my mother sitting in the dark living room, unaware of the hour. I turn on the light. With one hand on her cane and the other holding a little bundle in her lap, she is as charming as any little old lady can be.

“I was going for a walk up the street,” she offered, “but I got tired and I sat down to rest.”

Dead bolts on our doors do not prevent my mind from wandering through the what ifs. Eventually, my thoughts drift back to the hum. For me, it is probably the balm that keeps my anxieties in check; but what is it for her?

Humming decreases the sense of loneliness indoors or outdoors.

Photo by George Hodan
Photo by George Hodan | Source

Approximately two months ago, my mother began humming frequently. The sound is refreshing when she hums hymns that are familiar to me, and sometimes it is so moving that I just want to intrude by singing out the words. Not sure if I should.

My curiosity leads me to research whether there is any concern about the habit of humming in elderly people. There are a few surprises.

The Nuisance Hum

My first surprise is the complaints of family members whose relatives are suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The habit of humming in their elderly people can be described by one or more of the following phrases:

  • constant even in public places
  • while eating or while in conversation
  • the same tune over and over
  • sometimes not a tune, just a monotone buzz

Relatives and caregivers label these hums “little annoying,” “a nuisance,” and “driving us all crazy.” Any sound can be annoying to individuals who prefer silence; but hopefully after considering the reasons for the hum, individuals dealing with the elderly and the demented will be more caring, unselfish and tolerant.

Besides, the experts explain that unlike what humming does to the annoyed, the effect is entirely different to those who have the habit:

"Humming calms the nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system."1

"It can be extremely effective as a 'self-soothing mechanism' because the individual may be able to rely on [himself or] herself instead of seeking gratification from others."2

The Camouflage Hum

Imagine sitting alone in the darkness, not understanding why. The cocktail of emotions including loneliness, powerlessness and confusion is difficult to express. Faith and hope are distant but not absent, for they bring to mind a phrase from a hymn of comfort. No memory of the first line but the melody plays and the tune is enough for the moment. The hum kicks in and camouflages all the inner chaos.

Probably, this is what humming does for my mother. When there are different mixes of emotions and the situation is strange and puzzling, the hum covers up the confusion. Perhaps also, her new habit of humming does not annoy me, because it is so much more pleasant than her old habit of speaking accusations (which is characteristic of Alzheimer's).

"Humming and singing with Alzheimer's is . . . very common and seems to provide comfort to the individual."3

"Humming . . . reduces the number of thoughts that fill your head. When you are humming there is no room for over thinking."4

Humming accommodates smiling for an even greater camouflage.

Photo by Graham Crumb
Photo by Graham Crumb | Source

The Good Mood Hum

The elderly, especially when they lose their recent memory, regress to the memories of earlier years. This seemed to be the situation in which a daughter sought help to escape her mother’s constant humming of a childhood song. The elderly woman might have been remembering happier times and reliving her happiness through her hum.

On the other hand, it is not unusual for the individual in the shower, or listening to a song on the radio to engage in a quiet hum. Sometimes, it is not about forgetting the words; it is just that humming nurtures the good feeling. The elderly who hum may be just maintaining the good mood feeling which replaces the confusion and the fear brought on by their illnesses.

"Humming a childhood song can be a means of reminiscing on happier times."5

"There is no scientific reason that makes people want to hum when they’re in a good mood. It just happens."6

How These Facts Affect Us

I almost mentioned "the rest us" forgetting that I belong to the group of elderly people we're reading about. I’m sure that some of my readers do too. We may soon begin our constant humming, but while we still have some control, we do well to engage in humming intentionally.

The research shows that:

"Humming is naturally calming and refreshing for the mind.

Humming can greatly increase oxygenation and blood flow not just in the sinus cavities by also in the brain and elsewhere in the body."7

One year after I first published this article, my mother is still humming. Her humming affects me positively. While she hums, there is no need to force a conversation, to try entertaining her or making her comfortable. She is relaxed and content with whatever thoughts the tune brings. The hum is a pacifier for her and an exhaling moment for me.

By the way, briefly humming along with the elderly to a tune we recognize may open an opportunity for talking about the song, the memories, and the feelings. Exercise good judgment on when to intrude. Be kind and start the conversation with a complimentary remark about the humming.

References

1, 4. Fogarty, Carole: Rejuvenation Lounge, The 12 Instant Benefits of Humming Daily, (August 6, 2009).

2, 5. Health Central: AFA Social Services, Health Guide, Alzheimer's Disease (January 5, 2009).

3. Bergman, Helene: Caring.com, Is constant humming or singing common with Alzheimer's? (November 28, 2014).

6. Andrews, Linda Wasmer: Minding the Body, Hum a Happy Tune for Wellness (November 21, 2011).

7. Maya: Sing and Hum Bumble Bee, Humming for Health, (Copyright 2007-2011)

Humming Poll

How often do you hum?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Dora Weithers

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      • Margie Lynn profile image

        Southern Accents 

        4 months ago from the USA

        Haha, I will probably drive everyone crazy Dora!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        4 months ago from The Caribbean

        Margie, thanks for your input. I am still learning to whistle; lucky you. I wonder if that means you will whistle instead of hum in your later years.

      • Margie Lynn profile image

        Southern Accents 

        4 months ago from the USA

        Dora I never hum but I do whistle a lot, especially when I am busy in the kitchen! Very interesting article. Thanks!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        15 months ago from The Caribbean

        Southandmain, it is selfish of me to expect everyone to respond the way I would to the humming of a parent. I hear you, and I am sorry if I offended you. I sympathize with your situation. Truly, it is not a cakewalk and I pray for you strength, patience, and all the skills you need to survive while you care for your parent. Thanks for your contribution to this important matter.

      • profile image

        Southandmain 

        15 months ago

        Being a caregiver is difficult. Caring for an aging parent who's not all that old yet while grieving the loss of the other at a younger than average age is difficult. Being annoyed by noises someone makes is not selfish. When these responsibilities fall on you at any age, it's not a cakewalk. I still have hopes of marriage & having a family of my own, yet I'm spending those years unanticipatedly caring for a parent. ...who hums...and sings...and grunts...and sighs...it is not selfish to be annoyed by these sounds. Knowing why maymake it easier to find patience when those sounds occur. It's also scary to see the parent you didn't lose slip away slowly and emotionally painfully. I can be understanding and patient in those moments of incessant sounds, and knowing why they're occurring does help, but there has to be a safe place to admit that it's hard and that those sounds do not always bring peace but sometimes bring sadness, frustration, annoyance, and fear. Thank you for sharing such an informative perspective on this issue, but please don't claim someone is selfish for being annoyed by something when they're already doing all they can do to try to keep their own life in order, work, pay bills, etc. & they're trying to keep a fairly young aging parent together while also mourning the loss of the other parent.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        15 months ago from The Caribbean

        S Brown, thanks for sharing. Your mom-in-law has certainly found a good reason to hum. If it is more pleasant than the sound of the crickets, it's worth it.

      • profile image

        S brown 

        15 months ago

        My mom in-law hums because she has tinnitus (we think) and she says she hums all the time to cover up the "crickets" and ringing she hears

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        16 months ago from The Caribbean

        Robin, I am so happy that my article brought back happy memories of your papaw humming. May those sweet sounds comfort and bless you whenever he enters your thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

      • profile image

        Robin 

        16 months ago

        The memories of sitting and listening to my papaw hum while sitting in his recliner always bless me. He had a beautiful voice and always seemed happy when he was humming even though he couldn't see. He has macular degeneration. I remember listening to him sing in church and he would always hum sometimes hymns and sometimes just a little tune he made up. He was a fine Godly man an I miss him dearly.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        16 months ago from The Caribbean

        Thank you Audrey. We cannot help the elderly without sowing seeds for our own help. If we appreciate their humming, we make it easier for them to make it easier for us the caregivers.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        16 months ago from California

        I am not sure if my comment went through--anyway, this is a beautiful and compassionate hub--and so very true--I love everything about this hub!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        17 months ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Tamarajo. Kudos to you and your grandchildren for being caring toward the nursing home residents. Glad to help you appreciate their humming.

      • Tamarajo profile image

        Tamarajo 

        17 months ago

        The biological effects of humming is so interesting. My grandchildren and I frequently visit the nursing home and there is a lot of humming going on. I will forever see this in a new way and be able to explain to the little ones how this soothes and calms them.

        It might be something of benefit for all ages.

        A very informational and useful article. I appreciate also your insights and suggestions.

        God bless!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        17 months ago from The Caribbean

        N Kiddie, there are health benefits to singing and I have an article titled 5 Health Factors Which Singing Can Improve. Thanks for your comment and do keep singing!

      • kiddiecreations profile image

        Nicole Kiddie Granath 

        17 months ago

        Wow, what a great topic to write about! I've never thought about the benefits of humming, but it's very interesting! I do sing pretty much every day, whether it is while doing dishes, or with my kids, or in the car to the radio, etc. Sometimes I do occasionally hum as well. I wonder if some of the benefits of singing are also similar to the benefits of humming? Thanks for a great hub!

      • profile image

        Joanne 

        17 months ago

        This was a beautiful article. Thank you for sharing about your mother's experience. I took part in my grandparents care and they both hummed. It was never annoying, and in fact it was comforting. I am a bodyworker, and yoga instructor. I also had long turns in the multiple choirs. Humming is therapeutic and is a great practice for all of us no matter what stage of life.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        18 months ago from The Caribbean

        Dream, great idea to see whether your aunt will join you in humming a tune with which she is familiar. And you keep on humming!

      • DREAM ON profile image

        DREAM ON 

        18 months ago

        I enjoy humming when I am thinking. My wife finds it aggravating so I hum when she's not around. I have an aunt who is suffering from dementia and just recently she has become paranoid about people kicking her out or arresting her for stealing the family pictures on the wall. A good article and I wonder if she hums she will feel better. Maybe we can hum something together. Thank you so much for sharing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        18 months ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Kiss. Does that mean you'll start humming? You may enjoy that too.

      • profile image

        kiss and tales 

        18 months ago

        Enjoyed this Hub very much .

        Thank you for sharing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        18 months ago from The Caribbean

        Mary, thanks and welcome to the hummers band. As you realize, it can only help.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        Good to know how much humming can help our health. I will do it more often. As always, I enjoyed your hub. It hits a chord.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        18 months ago from The Caribbean

        OBD, welcome to HubPages and thanks for your visit. Glad you share my positive opinion about the comfort that results from humming. Keep humming yourself, and the best to you and your mom, going forward.

      • profile image

        oldblackdog 

        18 months ago

        I have read a ton on aging and the maladies that often come with it Anything that helps someone preserve themselves with a little more comfort is good. My own mom is 94 and not much of a hummer, and I either sing or talk to myself sometimes when alone. It keeps me focused, and as another writer said, helps drown out the tinnitis.

        This speaks clearly to relatives and caregivers: it's a blessing not a curse.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        23 months ago from The Caribbean

        Mary, thanks for sharing. Whistling in sleep sounds so interesting. Glad that the article helped you figure it out. Best to you and your dad going forward.

      • profile image

        Mary 

        23 months ago

        Thank you, Mona. My dad whistles constantly and tonight I found him whistling apparently in his sleep. Your article helped me understand more about why he does this. Thank you!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Mona. I'm with you with the humming. I'm accustomed to my mother's and it's not bad at all.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

        2 years ago from Philippines

        I can live with some humming and as I age will probably hum even more. The research you put into this made the article so much more credible and more interesting, too.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Rajan, glad to write something that is new information for you. Thanks for your comment.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Very interesting. I had no idea this benefitted our health and those of the elderly in those health conditions as well. Thanks for sharing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Dolores, thanks for commenting and sharing about your husband. I cannot say what his humming means, but I put "monotone humming" in my browser and several articles came up. You might want to read about it, and even inform his doctor who might have specific answers for you. Best of health to you and your husband going forward! I'm glad you stopped by.

      • profile image

        MsDolores 

        2 years ago

        My husband is 65 years old. Over the last 6 months he has been humming a monotone sound. Its the same over and over. It's not a song. None of us have said anything to him about it. If he's not talking he's making that sound no matter where we are. He does not show any signs of dementia. I just want to know what's caused this sudden change.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        JG, you encourage me. Thanks!

      • jgshorebird profile image

        Jack Shorebird 

        2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

        Thanks. I learned something.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Jodah, keep humming, and I'm sure that the memories of your mother's humming are pleasant ones. I've been meaning to do more of it, myself. It produces a feel-good mood.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        MsDora, this was a very interesting hub and I am glad you wrote it. I don't understand how anyone could get upset with their elderly family members humming, but I suppose if it was always the same tune. I hum from time to time instead of singing along to a song, and I can remember my mother humming while she did housework. Thank you for sharing this.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Patricia, and now your mother's humming provides a good memory for you. That's sweet. Thank you for sharing, and as usual--for the angels.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        2 years ago from sunny Florida

        How cool is this...humming is even comforting to me....I enjoy humming along to songs too.

        I can remember my Momma humming a lot throughout her lifetime. She was such a positive person even though she faced many difficult journeys. Perhaps the humming really did soothe her raw edges.

        Sending Angels your way this evening ps

        shared g+ tweeted pinned to Awesome HubPages

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Glad you enjoyed it, RTalloni. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Dirt Farmer, neither did I. Out of curiosity concerning my mother's humming, I did the research. Nine months after, she's till humming; and I'm still forgetting to do it more often. Thanks for your comment.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 years ago from the short journey

        Thanks for a neat read with information worth discussing and sharing, as indicated by the comments that have already come in.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        2 years ago from United States

        I never knew that humming was such a complex event. People are amazing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Elsie, you're an encouragement to the hummers. Thanks for affirming the value of humming.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Chitrangada, thanks for sharing your encouraging views and keep humming.

      • Elsie Hagley profile image

        Elsie Hagley 

        3 years ago from New Zealand

        Beautiful article. I enjoy listening to anyone humming, not only the elderly, it gives me a feeling of peace and happiness.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        3 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Wonderful hub and I agree that humming helps a lot not only the elderly but at any age. And how cute is that to see an elderly woman humming! Very sweet---I just wish that all elderly people should keep smiling and be happy.

        Humming keeps you positive and is a great therapy if you are feeling low or lonely.

        I do humming and even sing a lot when I am surrounded by my loved ones. This is just to express my happiness.

        Excellent hub and lovely pictures! Voted up!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        BradmasterOCcal, welcome to the idiosyncracies of the aging. As you have seen, the humming is much more welcome than scenarios like those you describe. It helps to share here on HP. Hope you hang around.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Judy, so you're a hummer and a singer. I'm sure you're good to be around. You had a good start with your parents. Thanks for sharing.

      • bradmasterOCcal profile image

        bradmasterOCcal 

        3 years ago from Orange County California

        Interesting hub.

        However, my mother in law doesn't hum tunes, only sounds like that of starting to clear your throat.

        I think that it is a habit when she is alone that carries over to all the time.

        The slightest thing can cause her to generate a whole scenario that is not real. She hasn't slept in here bed since her husband died four years ago. She is afraid to fall asleep because she thinks that someone is coming for her. And if she falls asleep from exhaustion she wakes up groggy and disoriented and thinks that someone has drugged her.

        These are just a few of your scenarios.

        Thanks

      • Judy Filarecki profile image

        Judy Filarecki 

        3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

        Wonderful hub. If I'm not humming, I'm singing, especially when driving. It is comforting and does bring back good memories of going on long trips with my parents before there were radios in our cars. My parents always sang together in harmony and we would sit in the back thoroughly enjoying the peaceful of it. I learned a lot of old songs that way which came in handy when I started singing with the Sweet Adelines years later. Shared.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Lori. Hope you hear more pleasant hummers during the New Year, and keep singing or humming for your own pleasure!

      • lambservant profile image

        Lori Colbo 

        3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

        I prefer singing and do it all the time. I don't mind people humming as long as it's a real tune. I have a few people in my life who hum all the time or frequently and there is no real song and the tune they are humming is lacking in real pleasantness. I think when people are doing chores around the house or on their way to get something quickly is when I hear them most. Then you've got your phone rep hummers. Annoying.

        All that said, I love to hear someone humming a song. I think it's probably very soothing. This was a very interesting take on humming. Your topics never cease to surprise and delight me.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Welcome back, Lady E. Keep humming and keep writing. Season's greetings to you, too and Happy New Year.

      • Lady_E profile image

        Elena 

        3 years ago from London, UK

        This made me smile. It's interesting to know there are different names for humming. :-) I hum every day, sometimes unaware until someone gives me that look.

        Thanks for sharing. Happy Festive Season.

        Ps. I love your new photo.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Teaches, our mothers set some good examples for us in this and other areas without even realizing it. Glad you enjoyed the article and keep humming.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        3 years ago

        Ms. Dora, my mother used to hum while working around the home. I sometimes do it and benefit from the relaxing mood it sets for cleaning those difficult chores. This was a very interesting post and very enjoyable.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Pastor Bill, you make me smile. Humming beside those teenagers is the best option, I think. Thanks for your kind encouragement.

      • lifegate profile image

        William Kovacic 

        3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

        Well MsDora, in my search to see what hubs I haven't been notified of I came across this one. Your topics are unique. I would have never thought about this except that you bring it to my attention. I have a habit of humming while I drive. Maybe that helps to keep me calm when I'm side by side with a teenager, or when I get behind a car that has "Driver's Training" all over the back. Anyway, thanks again for more of your interesting information.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        DDE, thanks for following and always making kind comments.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Nell, thanks for that information. You affirm my findings and you encourage me.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Denis, thanks for sharing about your son. Glad his humming makes you happy. Go ahead and start whenever you're ready--no practice necessary.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Bravewarrior, thank you for your very factual comment. Some of this truth I am now recognizing. Thanks for your input.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        A great hub. I like the way you shared with a lovely photo and showed me the true meaning of such lives. Humming applies a great feeling.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        3 years ago from England

        Hi MsDora, what a wonderful hub! yes my mum used to hum, it made me smile to hear her! funnily enough I remember reading a few years ago that when people hum its good for them on a vibrational level similar to how and why a cat purrs! when a cat purrs it helps to calm them which explains why sometimes they purr when they are in pain or frightened, humming is a similar thing! It really reminded me when I read this! wonderful!

      • denise.w.anderson profile image

        Denise W Anderson 

        3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

        What an interesting thing, humming because we feel good. My one and only son is like this, he hums when he feels good. Since I know this about him, it brings tears to my eyes when I notice him doing it because I know that it is an outward sign that he is happy and contented. It is good to know that humming is a self-calming mechanism for the elderly. It won't be long and I'll be part of that crowd! I should start practicing!

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        3 years ago from Central Florida

        Dora, this is so interesting. Humming is something we all do. I can see how humming can be a calming factor for the elderly. Shoot, it's a calming factor for all of us. Often, we don't even realize we're doing it. Music really is a wonderful panacea.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Rachel, what you did for your patients, as if your comment about it, is really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your disability in no way affects your compassion and your ability to reach out and fill needs. You showed us another great use of the hum.

      • RachaelOhalloran profile image

        Rachael O'Halloran 

        3 years ago from United States

        What I am about to tell you is purely unscientific in every sense of the word. I have no idea if this has ever been studied or proven, so here goes.

        Until recently I was a home health and hospice nurse. I retired a few months ago. One of my employers in California wouldn't trust me with regular alert patients, just those who were confined to bed or comatose. They needed the least amount of care and with my disability, I was less of a company liability to that type of patient. That is where I first noticed humming made a difference with a patient. I kept it up until I left California - about 5 years.

        When we moved back to the East Coast to Virginia, the employer here had no such problems with my disability. So I took care of all kinds of hospice patients.

        Often I would notice that "far off look" on a patient's face when seated at the window, on the porch, at the kitchen table or on the sofa "watching" television.

        Back a few years ago, I never gave it a thought. I just figured they were just lost in their thoughts or memories. But I came to realize that some just needed some stimulation and if they couldn't reach out for it, then I could try to provide a wee bit.

        I would put the radio on for the show tunes station, the big band music channel or the all instrumental channel at a tolerable decibel. Then, I turned it off periodically (every 30 mins or so) to see if my patient noticed.

        Most of them did. I had no way of knowing unless I approached them to touch their cheek. Some (not all) were humming amidst the silence. For many, this was accompanied with rocking motion.

        The reason I couldn't tell they were humming is because I am deaf. The only way I could tell was by feeling the side of their cheek/face/neck and I could feel the vibration of their voicebox.

        When I noticed this was what they were doing, I got in the habit of humming for alert and comatose patients all the time - while I performed some of my less invasive duties like straightening beds, preparing a meal or setting up medications, washing up after a meal, getting them ready for bed or when I had a comatose patient.

        I would hum just so the only noise wasn't the life support machines in the room. Did it make a difference? I don't know for sure, but the heart rate of some of my comatose patients did change. And for my more alert patients, if I saw them mouth the words "I remember that song" then that was a enough for me to know it was ok.

        Thanks for writing this article. It was great!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Manatita, I was not aware how beneficial humming was. My mother's hum started my research, and I'm glad it did. You, keep on enjoying the good mood hum; do not let your workers have reason to label it a nuisance hum (smile). I'll hum too, when I remember. Thanks for your participation.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        3 years ago from london

        Well Dee,

        It is a great form of solace. More importantly, it is truly music, and as you know, music is the language of the Soul.

        Happy to hear that your mother hums. I do this a lot. I sing really, but at work I have to use my wisdom, so I hum and, like your mom, sometimes I don't know I'm doing it. Still, it is truly a positive thing. God bless the Spirit of your mom and more hums please! ...tidings.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Angela, you are very kind. Thanks for a very encouraging comment.

      • quildon profile image

        Angela Joseph 

        3 years ago from Florida

        We can always count on you for an interesting and well-written hub, and this one is no exception. I never thought of the benefits of humming before, but I know that music in whatever form has an enormous impact on our brains and our moods. I'm glad your mom still hums and you have the love and compassion to enjoy listening to her. Great hub!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Yes, Mary. Start humming and enjoy the memories of your mother. Thanks for sharing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Peachpurple, your dad wouldn't hear, but you will; so will the other family members. Want to give it a try and see what happens?

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Dolores, enjoy the good mood hum. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Mts1098, thanks for your very kind comment. I appreciate you and please keep humming.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Blossom, you a skill I would like to have also. Keep whistling and enjoy your neighbor's hum. Thanks for sharing.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Ologsinquito, I agree with your observation. I never want to have regrets because I did not appreciate something I should have. Thanks for your input.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Shanmarie, glad the article interests you and thanks for the lead on the music link. I appreciate you.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Faith, so glad you have sweet memories of your mother. Mine is humming as I write. If we love them, it is easy to love their humming.

      • mary615 profile image

        Mary Hyatt 

        3 years ago from Florida

        I remember hearing my Mother hum as she ironed or hoed in her garden. I can still hear her in my memory bank. She didn't have dementia, she was just happy, I think.

        I haven't thought of humming in ages; maybe now I'll hum!

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 

        3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        my family never hums. If we did, others will say you are crazy. After all, my dad is deaf. He can't hear himself humming

      • Dolores Monet profile image

        Dolores Monet 

        3 years ago from East Coast, United States

        Hi, MsDora - such an interesting hub! I followed one of your links to read that humming helps with insomnia and has been shown to lower blood pressure. So cool! When cleaning I am going to hum today, a tune, not random, not there yet. (voted up and shared)

      • profile image

        mts1098 

        3 years ago

        MsDora - as usual you bring to light an everyday habit with a unique perspective - that is one of the things I enjoy about your writing - by the way, I very often sing in the car to/from work so go ahead and hum away :)

      • BlossomSB profile image

        Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

        3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

        That was so interesting and helps to explain why one of my elderly neighbours hums frequently. Actually, when I walk my dog I often whistle quietly to myself, especially hymns and choruses as I enjoy the flowers in people's gardens I pass.

      • ologsinquito profile image

        ologsinquito 

        3 years ago from USA

        You have a really good attitude about humming and the elderly. I'm sure many people who've lost elderly parents would love to hear those "annoying" hums again.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        3 years ago from Texas

        Hi, Ms. Dora. This is very interesting information. Thank you for sharing. It does not surprise me that humming has a calming effect on the elderly - or anyone else for that matter. Singing or humming is very calming to me.

        Your hub also reminds me of something Nellieanna shared with me one time. She knows that I am wrirting something dealing with Alzheimer's and that I am very much into music. A close friend of hers shared a link to a website describing how music helps Alzheimer's patients. I wish that I could readily recall the link for you now. It was incredibly interesting and moving. She tends to save things and likely still has it. You might email her about it if you are interested.

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        3 years ago from southern USA

        Oh, wow, MsDora, this is fascinating. I remember after my sweet mother developed dementia or short-term memory loss, she would hum all of the time. It never bothered me and I assumed it comforted her, which I read here that it do so! Thank you for sharing these interesting facts on humming.

        Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

        God bless you and yours always

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        RelatinshipC, I'm happy you found the article helpful; happier still about your new attitude toward hummers. Thanks for your feedback.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Country-Sunshine, thanks for weighing in. Don't be afraid to start humming--even before you need caregivers.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        AliciaC, I thought this information was worth sharing, since I just discovered too. Thanks for your encouragement.

      • Relationshipc profile image

        Kari 

        3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

        This was a good article for me to read! I am not a fan of humming or whistling. I find it distracting and even a little annoying because my hearing is quite sensitive. With this new perspective, I can see myself being more patient and loving!

      • Country-Sunshine profile image

        Country Sunshine 

        3 years ago from Texas

        What an interesting and useful article! My mom used to hum a lot, but I didn't think much of it as she always sang when she was younger. I plan to pass along this info, especially to my future caregivers!

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is an interesting and touching hub. I've read about the benefits of humming before, but never in relation to Alzheimer's disease. Thank you for raising awareness of the significance of humming in elderly people.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Sally, bless your compassionate heart toward the elderly! Thanks for your input.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Ann, keep humming. All it says right now is that you're promoting your health and your happiness--good thing! Thanks for your comment.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Margaret, so pleased that you have some fond memories of your mother. Thanks for reading and sharing.

      • sallybea profile image

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        3 years ago from Norfolk

        Love Catherine's comment. It made me smile too. I find this fascinating as I work with someone who has dementia. I have never heard her sing or hum but I know she loves music but I can always live in hope that she will.

        I love reading anything to do with the elderly, especially when it gives me an insight to what I can expect a little way down the road:)

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Catherine, you're funny; you make me smile. Thanks so much for your participation.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        3 years ago from SW England

        Fascinating information, Dora; thanks for that. I'm someone who hums a lot and always have, so I'm not sure what that says about me! However, it's not continuous - yet.

        I suppose humming can get annoying but I can understand how it soothes the hummer. Most people hum a little ditty when they're happily going about their daily chores, don't they?

        Great hub!

        Ann

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