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hearing hammering

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:15 AM   #1
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hearing hammering

Mom is hearing hammering in her head. She says it is like somebody is putting a roof on the building. There is no physical source of this noise to it has to be hallucinogenic in nature. When she complains of this she also says she doesn't feel good and goes to bed.

Recently she had a cold/flu virus but bounced back quickly. She was given a cough medication with Codeine and Phenergan for nausea. She also has reflux which has been problematic lately but she is not taking anything for that. She had a CAT Scan December 20 for lung spots that showed on an x-ray taken in connection to her virus. She is on an antidepressant Effexor, statin Zocore, Astelin nasal spray, Aricept and Namenda for Alz, and Metformin to regulate blood sugar. She has a PRN Halcion for sleep. The only medication in her room is Tylenol.

She had spent the day yesterday with my sister at Dad's family reunion. She left her pocketbook in the bathroom and today said it was because she became disoriented at the reunion (that was after 2 other explanations as to why she didn't have her pocket book). When she got back to the facility she complained of the hammering noise and that she didn't feel well but later when my cousin came by she acted as if she was fine and later was happy when my other sister brought her the rug she wanted from home.

She has used "feeling bad" to get what she wants.

This morning she called my sister and said she was feeling really bad and was hearing the hammers. Two sisters arrive and said she did look bad. The facility doctor was at a total loss as to any medical reason for her symptoms. So at this point they have sent her to the hospital for evaluation.

Do any of you have experience with auditory hallucinations with ALZ?

Love, Deb

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:47 AM   #2
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Re: hearing hammering

I don't know if you will ever discover why she is 'hearing' this hammering may be her explanation for having a headache or it could be a reaction to any one of those meds she is on. What is more important is that when she feels this way she is feeling ill so I would focus on what makes the hammering sound go away rather than the actual may or may not be a sound but just her way of telling you she is not feeling good. It seem though when she is is not feeling good she 'hears' this sound and seemingly it disappears if she sleeps .....that seems to me the cure for it and I just wouldn't focus on the word as much as what cures it. But it is strange that you would say/think she is using this hammering sound to get what she wants? do understand Alzheimer disease brings about strange things yes? I am guessing she just can't put into words what is happening when she doesn't feel so good so she says 'hammering' I would be glad that it actually goes away. She may indeed hear this sound and it could be brought on by an adverse reaction to anything just be glad it isn't there 24/7.

Old 12-23-2007, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: hearing hammering

People often refer to an intense headache as ''pounding." As Dementia progresses, people often have problems finding the right word. Perhaps it is a headache. She seems to be on an awful lot of different medications, and I wonder if headache is a result of drug interactions. I hope you can get to the bottom of it. It certainly seems like she has discomfort, of whatever type.

Manipulative behavior is often assumed by the family members - but in Dementia the afflicted person really doesn't usually use lies or exaggerations, unless to make them look more normal. They are more likely to say "I am fine" than "I feel sick." Many are afraid of the doctor 'finding out' about all their confusion and disorientation. Since she was recenly ill, could it be that there is sinus presure in her head which she interprets as hammering? Then there is tinnitus, ear noises, which can result from a recent 'head cold.' ... And of course, it could be an auditory hallucination on her part.

Dementia is probably the most complicated disease to diagnose and treat simply because one cannot always believe what the patient is telling you. My Mom would change her story every few minutes. I remember my anxiety when she came home from the senior center with a bright red eye but insisted it didn't hurt - and then, minutes before her doctor's practice closed, made a big fuss about her painful eye. With a phonecall and a phoned in prescription I managed to get her some eye drops that same day, only to have her lose them a day later (she gave them to the HHA to hold, and she went home with them ...another hassle).

Big and small things build up to drive the caregiver up walls ... it is no easy task.



Last edited by Martha H; 12-23-2007 at 12:12 PM.

Old 12-23-2007, 12:10 PM   #4
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Re: hearing hammering

I truly do understand that ALZ brings about strange things, different reactions, and the inability to express sensations and feelings.

The reason I said what I did is that I do know my Mom. She is a very intellegent lady. She has not lost that intellegence just the ability to use it in a logical rational way. Example.... My sister had spent the weekend with Mom. Also there were grandchildren and great grandchildren. I was going to stop by and stay another day or two with mom because she was not feeling well. When I arrived, before the other left, Mom was on the couch and looked sick. My sister said she had been that way for two days. I walked outside and said goodbye to the last of the other visitors. When I opened the screen door Mom poped her head up and ask if everybody else was gone. I told her yes to which she replied... Then I can get up now. She went on to say she didn't want to cook for all those people. Then she requested that we walk around the block and did not complain for the next two days. This was not the only time she had done this.

I do understand that this is a product of her intellegence coupled with her cognitive impairment. It is not something that she can control and I understand that but I also know it is something that she does. She does exaggerate what is there one time and minimize it the next. She is still very verbal though the facts are jumbled and you have to pick through what you hear from her and what you know to find the reality. I do know that she is declining at a rather rapid rate and each day brings on new manifestations of the disease.

She complained last night.... slept.... and complained more this morning. We are not focused on the sound but on the cause of her feeling badly. Her describing it this way may be a clue as to what is going on. And I am ruling nothing out. It could be medical, it coud be drug induced, it could be her way of discribing her symptoms or auditory hallucinations caused by the ALZ, or it could be Mom being Mom. That is why she has been seen by the facility doctor and is currently at the hospital for testing. We are ruling out all the possibilities......

My interest in Auditory hallucinations is two fold. I know my Dad has them but they are in the form of conversations with people that are no longer living and now the persistend hammering. It was just one of the many avenues we are following to find out what is going on today.....

Love, Deb

Old 12-23-2007, 06:00 PM   #5
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Re: hearing hammering

Bingo... Martha hit on what may have been the cause. After another CatScan, this time of her head, and multiple other test the only thing they found was sinusitus. They are not 100% sure this is all that is going on but hopefully if we can get that cleared up we can go from there. My sister did tell me that not only did Mom hear the hammering but she also saw people in the yard outside of her window that were not there.

Mom is famous for her "I'm fine" or "I knew that". She does cover up her disabilities with those two statements. Her episodes of feeling bad are usually related to something she thinks she is expected to do that she is unable to do or doesn't want to do. She will manipulate to get something she thinks she wants. When I called her tonight (she is back at Assisted Living) she told me she was "fine". Then she ask what I planned to do after the family Christmas celebration. I was not sure exactly what she was asking until I questioned her a bit. She had decided if I was there to stay with Dad then my sister would have no reason not to take her back home. Then she told me she had not been back home yet and that my sister didn't bring her the things she wanted from the house. In reality that box of things was one Mom packed when she did go home. She had limited recollection of today. She ask me three times what time we were getting together on Saturday. Then ask again what I was doing after our Christmas celebration. With Mom.... it is always an adventure!!

There is a care evaluation Thursday. Hopefully some of the medications can be addressed at that time.

Love, Deb

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