An assistant and I are about to conduct a trial run of the type of data gathering that was done in Kokomo, Indiana. What makes Sechelt, BC interesting is that this is a retirement community. Given what is already known about the demographics of hearers, I wasn’t surprised to hear that an informal localized study suggested that more than 10 percent of households in a certain radius had somebody in the house who could hear it.
This study comprises two closely related parts. The first involves a third party not connected to the research being paid to hand-deliver roughly 200 letters labelled “Noise Survey” to homes in five clusters around the Sechelt area. Two of those clusters will be located further North on the Sunshine Coast Highway, in the communities of Halfmoon Bay and Madeira Park. The text of that letter is given below.
The second part of the study is to have Canada Post randomly insert 200 letters into mailboxes in the Sechelt Area. The inserts would be the same as those delivered to the houses. It will be interesting to see which method generates the greater participation rate.
In both cases, participants are directed to http://thehum.info and asked to enter their data on the web form. My guess is that participants will view the Hum map while they are there, which is part of a largely unspoken agenda that aims to generate a sense of community and ultimately media attention to the Hum phenomenon.
This research blog will announce the results.
————————————————— text of letter follows:
Dear Sunshine Coast Residents.
We are asking for your participation in a survey regarding noise disturbances in this area. For several years now, residents have periodically complained about a deep hum or low “rumbling” sound, something like a truck engine idling outside your home. The sound is often reported to be more noticeable at night, and louder inside the home than outside of it. Some people seem especially sensitive to the noise, whereas others have difficulty hearing it. Most commonly, it is heard by people 50 years of age and older.
Similar reports from other cities and other countries have led to speculation about the source of this type of noise – from high voltage power lines to communications systems to natural gas lines, to other types of industrial activity. By getting a clearer idea of how and where local residents are affected, we’ll have a better chance of locating the source of the disturbance.
The anonymous data gathered from this survey will form part of a larger study of this phenomenon. Your identity will be anonymous, but your data fully public at http://www.thehum.info.
If you could spare a few minutes, could you please enter your information on the web survey form located at
Thank you for your time.
Questions or comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org