Friday, April 25, 2008

The Hum – Do You Hear It?




Over the years, there have been reports of unexplained, annoying humming noises heard in some areas of the world. Maybe you’ve heard about the Taos Hum in New Mexico, the Kokomo Hum in Indiana, the Bristol Hum in the UK, or the Auckland Hum in New Zealand? Those are only a few of the well-publicized hums. I live in northeast Ohio, just a few miles from the shores of Lake Erie, and about 20 miles from Cleveland. I’ve heard what I think is the same hum for years. No one, not even the scientists, seem to be able to have one explanation for this humming noise. Part of the problem is that not all people can hear it, and I don’t think that the sound can be recorded.

I first started hearing the hum in 1999 or 2000, and it was so loud that it affected my sleep. I could only hear the hum at night, usually after 10 PM, and rarely after 6:00 AM. It never seemed to matter what the weather was like that day, the hum just droned on. It sounded very much like a diesel engine idling in the distance. In fact, that’s what made me think at first that I wasn’t hearing anything unusual, because I live a short ways from train tracks, and it’s not uncommon to hear the trains approach from many miles away. I would think that the pulsing engine sound I heard was an approaching train, and never gave it much thought. But, there were nights the train just never arrived. I would wait, and wait, and…nothing. Just the constant drone of an engine hum, hum, humming for hours on end.

I assumed that since it wasn’t a train that it was something else outside. So I would get up in the middle of the night when the sound was loud, and open a window (even in the dead of winter) and listen to hear if there was something else outside making the noise. The minute I opened up the window, or even stepped outside – nothing. No hum.

After several weeks of this, I concluded that it had to be something in my own house doing it. One morning, we turned off the main power to out house to shut off all the electricity and…I still heard it. It was like the sound was coming right into my head, between my ears, and even into my bones. It was very loud in my basement, and even louder in the stairwell leading to my basement. Even more perplexing is that my husband did not hear it. I think he believed that I was going a little nuts. But, he humored me and knew that I had to be hearing something, since it was affecting my sleep so much. And sometimes the sound itself would change. One night I would get a diesel engine noise, sometimes it would sound like an engine with a hollow sound. Sometimes I would get a sensation that someone unleashed a large tuning fork in my head, with a vibration, a ringing nose, and a sound of hollow, distant traffic.

We thought about things like changes in water pressure. Since we also live close to the city’s water towers, we thought maybe whatever pumps they used to regulate water pressure or water levels in the tower were at fault. We did have a problem about 20 years ago when one of the water towers was out of commission, and they had to pump water into the remaining tower in the late evening hours after demand dropped. During that time, at 10 PM every night, we got the worse case of water hammer you can imagine. Every pipe in the house literally shook so badly that for a few week, we had to turn our water off at 10 PM until sometime in the middle of the night. So if it was another water problem, maybe my neighbors heard it too. I spoke to a few and discovered they heard nothing. I also called my local government city hall, and was basically told there were no complaints. (By the way, since then, they’ve decided to push for sound barriers by the train tracks.)

I have always been prone to migraines, and the nights that the migraines were really bad, the hum was also very bad. Could the hum be coming from my own head, and be a result of the migraines? Or was the hum triggering the migraines? I also had periodic vertigo problems. I had to consider the problem was inside me, maybe even an ear or hearing problem, but after having my ears checked and finding there were no problems, I was stumped. Compounding matters is that my husband said that now HE could hear it – and he wasn’t being prompted by me. What was this noise?

My doctor put me on beta-blockers to help reduce the frequency of migraines. It did seem to help the headaches, but also had another benefit. After a few months on the beta-blocker, I realized that I didn’t hear the hum much any more, or it wasn’t as intense. Eureka! It was me – well, maybe not completely. I had since read that sometimes blood pressure can cause a person to hear the rush of blood in their own head, and sometimes other people around you can even hear this sound. Well, was it me? The answer is probably not completely. Yes, I do think that the beta-blocker, in an attempt to lessen migraines, also evened out my blood pressure (which was never high, by the way) and stopped some of the noise I was hearing. But, I still hear it, and some nights my husband still hears it those same nights that it’s very loud to me. So while I think there may be some component within our own bodies that may affect if we hear the hum or the loudness of the hum, I am not sure it’s just all in our heads, so to speak.

Northeast Ohio has also been seismically active in the last few years, with almost 30 tremors and mild quakes since 2005, all near or in Lake Erie, and most of them very close by to where I live. (I felt quite a few of them.) I had noticed that many times I had hear the hum very loudly for a few days before these quakes. Is there some seismic component to the hum? Infrasound – sounds below the audible sound range that can emanate from earthquakes, volcanoes, avalanches, or atmospheric phenomenon – has been suggested as a cause.

There are also many web sites dedicated to other possible causes of the hum. For example, HAARP, (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), a government run radio frequency project in Alaska, is often named, but I don’t think there has been any definitive correlation. The proliferation of cell phone towers is another suggested cause. It could be a general industrial hum, as suspected by researchers of the Kokomo Hum. Doctors like to say that it’s tinnitus, and maybe for some people, that is the problem. Some people believe that, as we now have cell phones that have ring tones only teenagers can hear, maybe the hum is a byproduct of the ageing of the ear that can be heard only by people over 40, for example. Could it simply be sounds of the earth and atmospheric events? Could it be insects? Frogs? Fish? Whales? Sonar? Is it a government project to test whether people can be tortured by using sound? You name it, it’s been considered as a cause. Despite all the studies and all the theories, there seems to be no “one size fits all” answer to the hum.

At one point, I spent a lot of time researching the hum and belong to a few forums where people discuss what they believe are the causes, and relate their own experiences. I am sure there could conceivably be millions of people around the world who are hearing this sound. Some suggest it is some sort of mass hysteria. I can tell you that is not the reason in my case. I heard the hum LONG before I had even heard of the Taos Hum or any other hum locations. It wasn’t until one day in 2001, in my frustration, I turned to the Internet to find possible solutions that I realized that I was far from alone.

My opinion is that while the hum is being discussed in forums and probably being researched by individual scientists, I can’t seem to find one major study going on that puts any serious money and time into researching this. If anyone knows of a college, university, or any other research firm looking into this, please let me know. While I do not hear the hum as much as I used to, I still do hear it rarely and know that many people are suffering because of it. What can be done to have scientists take this seriously? Frankly, I am perplexed. There are so many people who are experiencing this world wide that I would have to think that there must be SOMETHING that is causing it and it’s not just in people’s heads. I would be happy to know even if it was simply the sounds of earth, or something like the proliferation of things like telecommunications, satellites, radar, etc. If it’s something that is causing me harm – or not causing me harm – I just want to know.

Hopefully, someone out there who can help will hear me, over the drone of the hum.




Here’s a video which talks about the Auckland Hum




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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live down in Australia in Melbourne, and I've started hearing this low frenquency sound that, kind of swells in and out in kind of like 'waaaawaaaawaaaa' - but incredibly low pitched. I first thought it was a car or truck driving on the freeway, however the sound appears even without a car nearby. It has only appeared in the past 3 days. But I thought I might have to research. I don't really believe that what I'm hearing is the hum, but...wow, its all very interesting. (They even have a wikipedia page dedicated to it!!)

Anonymous said...

I started hearing the hum on September 23, 2008 around 11pm. I had gone outside to check things out before going to bed, and heard an alarm going off not far from where I live. It was coming from a water pumping facility. As I was calling the police to have them check it out, I started hearing the sound and feeling slightly nauseous. The nausea lasted for the next 3 to 4 days. And one of my Airedale Terriers was extremely bothered by it also for months (she died in July due to a hemangiosarcoma). When the sound first started it was very hard to sleep at night. Now I just try to ignore it. I have also suffered from migraines since I was 9 years old. I'm 49 and going through menopause and don't get them everyday but do get them. When the sound first started it sounded like an engine far away about to shut down. Lots of pauses. Now it is mostly continous with some pauses. Sounds deeper too. It feels like some kind of an energy to me. Not so much a sound. I feel it in my ears but differently from any other sound. I have heard it not just at my house (in Puerto Rico and St.Petersburg, Fl) louder indoors than out and louder at night. Sometimes during the day it can get loud too, mostly in the morning. I have tried to contact every government agency with no results. It seems they either don't have a clue or they are keeping this a secret.
My question to you is this: By chance did you ever have a UFO encounter? When I was 11 or 12 in 1972 I saw a UFO. I freaked out when I saw it and I'm not sure if anything else happened. Now I'm wondering if this has anything to do with my "ability" to hear this sound. I live in Florida and have yet to meet someone else (besides my 11 year old daughter) who can hear this sound. Maybe we were born with something extra that allows us to hear this hum.
I don't like not knowing. We need to find out what is going on. I fear what this might be doing to our brains. Somebody HELP!!!

The Frequent Critic said...

To the second anonymous poster - no, I have never seen a UFO. By the way, I don't hear the hum much anymore. Sometimes when it is very cold outside - as it is now since it is winter here - I can hear it a bit. But it is nowhere near as loud or as often as I used to hear it.

Steve said...

If this site still active I would be interested in exchanging some information linked to major changes to natural gas ystems here in the NE that have caused teh HUM to start in SEPT 2009. Data from our area and mapping this out through out the country is 99% sure of our discovery.

The Frequent Critic said...

Steve, feel free to post any info here in the comments section. I also know of two forums that have been discussing the hum for years and would probably be interested in your input. You could join these groups and discuss it directly there as well:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/humforum/

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EarthHum/

Steve said...

Thanks. I started participating on the yahoo one, and many others. Our small group is collecting support battling to get this mess investigated. As you can expect it tough. As skeptical as most seem about a solution, this one holds up and is tested out using scientific methods by us and consultant data. This blog description is as typical of the thousands angst as well as ours. Our gasline proofing is working under c.o.p.s.ne (startup of "citizens oversight of pipeline systems north east"). I am looking for as many locations reports that fit on a peice of paper.
Regards Steve K

Chrissy said...

I live in Ohio near Dayton, which is also the home of Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and have lived here all of my 34 years. I've heard this hum since I was a child and some of my earliest memories were of laying in bed at night and hearing it. I didn't know that most other people didn't hear it, hell, I thought we ALL had this whirring sound during times of silence. I've seen a UFO before, but so has my father while he was hunting. He doesn't hear it, although we do share that type of experience. My father also owns land in Southwest Ohio, where there are no gaslines. He just last year put in a well so he could have running water. I hear it there as well. And the noise and volume is about the same there. Mine has never stopped since I was a child, it's just better sometimes, and like others, I have been plagued with migraines. I also can "communicate" and have done this since I was a child. Could this be a common link? Another thing, about two days before the Japan earthquakes and tsunami, it suddenly got louder and has persisted at this level since. All day, all night, all day, all night. My fiance pointed out my love of nature, that perhaps we who have this are just very "in tune" with the earth. I don't have high blood pressure, the opposite. It is funny to me because I really thought we all had this "sound of silence".

Anonymous said...

i live in south wales im 34 and i hear the hum i have done for over a year now i fist thought it was a car outside but when i checked it wasnt i only heard it when i was going to bed butt its got worse i hear it in the day aswell no one else hears it and it only seems to be in my house you can feel the vibrations in my ears its starting to crack me up ,i tried ear plugs and the sound went i did a seach on the net and was shocked to see so many people with the same thing

Anonymous said...

I lived in Lyndhurst, also 20 miles from Cleveland, and heard a low hum night after night. It turned out the first time to be my refrigerator, which was going bad, running constantly with a worn motor bearing that created the rythmic hum. The second time, there was a large sewer line being dub by one of those huge tunnel moles, 18 feet in diameter, and they drilled with it just two miles from my house night and day for six months. You might check into these conditions.......

Anonymous said...

More rumbling than a hum in Boothwyn PA. Not the refinery, maybe the microwave tower, we live on top of old tank farm. Sounds like the rumbling of the train two miles away but it lasts too long. Not constant.

Anonymous said...

I also live in Lake County Ohio (Concord) we moved there in 1996 I have been hearing the hum since 1999; I was roughly 30 when I first noticed it. Although I hear it mostly at night, when all is quiet and more when it is cold. My wife and I both hear it, neither one of us has tinnitus, it is funny that I use the term "hear" because it is almost as if I can feel it as well. Several times when "the hum" is just droning on and on and I am totally awake I have got up determined to find the source. I even turned off the power to my house once to rule out an electric appliance. Anyone who has experienced it knows this is not the case. Besides my wife I never really told anyone about else it, although she hears it doesn't bother her like it does me. I listen to the radio all night to help divert my attention away from the droning. Ultimately I have dismissed it as some distant industrial noise. Now that I actually googled it I'm not so convinced anymore, in that there seems to be so many people experiencing the same thing.

Shannon Redford
Concord Ohio

The Frequent Critic said...

Shannon - it sounds like you started hearing it around the same time I did - that may be a coincidence but it may indicate that whatever may be causing the hum "started up" at that time.

We had our attic re-insulated this past summer with a much higher insulating factor and it actually cut the sound of the hum quite a bit. That would seem to indicate the hum is an external noise.

MJ McDonald said...

Hello, I live in Wasilla Alaska and started hearing a humming noise about 3 years ago. It has gotten louder in the last year. The other night I heard it and was surprised that instead of the usual noise the hum seemed to be in a frantic state. Instead of the low waawaa - waa waa waa it was as if someone had turned up the speed dial. Now I am hearing it in the daytime too.

The Frequent Critic said...

Has there been any new businesses or construction in the area? Or, have you by any chance noticed an increases in aurora borealis activity? I've received a few emails about people thinking that there is an increase of atmospheric electrical activity that they think is causing more humming noises.

bmeskill said...

Looking at the most infamous HUM locations, I noticed that each of them has pipelines nearby. The heads of the pipelines are in Industrial areas where you can not hear the Hum above the other nearby sounds. The further you are from ambient noise the more you can hear the Hum. It makes sense that the government says that they don't know the cause. Can you imagine the cost of correcting the problem, or moving oil and gas via rails and roads. Look for pipeline maps on the USGS website (or Canada's equivalent). Tell me what you find.

Humming Bird Canada said...

I just moved out of the busy Vancouver city into North Delta, BC, Canada this past December. We live near a freeway, watershed, electrical towers, and there are train tracks directly behide our house about 100 meters through a wooded area. I started to hear a low frequency humming durring the night a few months ago. The humming is new to me and I can't remember ever hearing it before my last move. At first I brushed it off as train noises but now i'm not so sure. When I open the window to listen I no longer hear it and only hear light traffic in the distance. It doesn't sound like an electrical buzzing. It is constant through the night, dipping in and out in volume from time to time. No train will pass for hours but the hum will remain. I am a sound engineer for TV and film so I tend to notice background noises easily. I am able to pick up and record the hum on just an iphone mic so I know its not just in my head. Im sure the sound would be amplifed on a U87 or any more sensitive mic. I am also now 25 weeks pregnant and all my senses seem heightened. I would like an answer for this humming as well. Once I wake up at night, there is no falling back to sleep due to its annoyance. It doesn't seem to bother my husband or dog.

Rod Mervin said...

OMG I thought I was the only one with this problem. I live in saint Petersburg Florida by the bay. Early in the morning I hear nothing.Through out the day I hear nothing. even sitting in a quiet office,i hear no hum sound. Around 10:30 almost every night I hear something in my right ear. a low hum that goes for about 5 seconds then it fades out for a split second then right back to a loud hum. It's almost as if someone has something that vibrates and they hold it near my ear. So far in my household I'm the only one that can hear it. everyone looks at me like I've gone crazy. It has kept me up at night.

Unknown said...

You aren't alone. There are dozens of reports on the internet in the Tampa area, so multiply that by who knows how many not reporting. It all has to do with Gulfstream Natural Gas line crossing the Gulf from MS to FL and then distributing throughout FL and the East coast

Steve from CT

Unknown said...

Rod, not sure of the sign in, so this may come up twice. There are dozens of reports and points in the Tampa area for years. It is worsening and caused by the High Pressure Natural Gas transmission lines, I believe if it is like here in CT. Could even be worsening to cause your sink holes down there. Anyhow, multiply the reports by who knows how many others not reporting and the problem is huge.

Annonymous said...

I hear the hmm...mmm...,hmm..mmmmmm. Higher, lower etc. NO ONE else can hear it. I stopped asking people if they could hear it as I was starting to think I was crazy! I only hear it in my neighbourhood and in certain spots. It is loudest inside my house. I live in a rural area and even hear it when the power goes out! I am North of Barrie in Ontario Canada.

Julie said...

I live in Sandusky, Ohio and started hearing the hum this year. I moved here in summer of 2012 and had never had problems with trains around me until this past summer. It is exactly as people described. It is worse at night and I do not hear it as loud as when I am in my house. None of my friends and family hear it. I have always been sensitive to sounds but with earplugs in and fan going it usually helps. Earplugs do nothing for it. Somebody suggested maybe it is them drilling at the quarry but I only hear it sometimes. I heard it this summer and then it started back up again towards the end of November.

Unknown said...

I live in Anchorage, Alaska and have been hearing the "Hum" for a while now. I both sing and play musical instruments, so I am very familiar with changes in pitch and frequency. Some of you have described what I hear very well. Mainly just at night, when I am trying to sleep, I hear the very deep hum that stays at the same frequency for 2 to 5 seconds and then drops a few beats for a second or two and comes back up. At first, I was thinking it had to be some electronic device that was charging, but after unplugging everything, I still hear it. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I still hear it, but I am the only one that I know of up here that hears the hum. I know there has to be more who hear it as well in Alaska. It is a penetrating frequency that you cannot escape. If it is from the high pressure natural gas lines, I would think it would get louder when moving towards the gas lines. I am going to sleep outdoors 10 miles away from any cell tower or gas line. If I still hear it, I'm going to rule those out. Thanks for everyone's input! If anyone else in Alaska is hearing it, please post.