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Sechelt Noise Survey – An Anonymous Employee Adds some Crucial Information

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Follow World Hum Map and Database Project on WordPress.com

Scientific credibility requires reporting the bad news alongside the good.

As a trial run, Canada Post randomly inserted 100 envelopes into post office boxes at the Sechelt post office. The envelopes were considered to be what in Canada is called “bulk mail”; that is, a flyer, or “junk mail”. Considerable thought was given to what sort of labeling would be most likely to cause a person to open the envelope and read it. In the end, we decided to simply write, by hand, the words, “Noise Survey” on each envelope. It was thought that a hand-written label would indicate that a local person was involved, and most people have a propensity to complain about disturbing noises. After waiting one week, I checked the databases and not a single entry came from the Sechelt area. As disappointing as the results are, they reveal some important advice for follow up attempts. I spent some time looking over my methods, and no doubt I need to reach hearers more broadly and effectively.

Then, just when I thought my survey was finished, I received an email from a person connected to the Post Office, who wants to remain anonymous. S/he told me that the Noise Survey created quite a stir in the Post Office, and that two workers associated with that office can hear the Hum. The consensus among them was that the best method of coverage for this purpose, and one that would most likely generate a greater response, would be a letter to the editor in the Coast Reporter newspaper. I had of course considered this initially, but one drawback of this technique is that I won’t be able to infer the proportion of hearers within the local population.

I plan for the letter to appear around the middle of September, and I’ll let you know what happens.


  1. Irving says:

    I live outside nanaimo in a community called cedar. I have experienced the phenomenon occasionally while laying in bed. I would often go outside to listen, but could never hear the same noise. Because I live close to a mill, I thought that this must be the source of the sound. “Like a diesel running”.

  2. terrylynnn says:

    I hear the hum constantly (Lucas Valley/San Rafael CA.). It started abruptly in Nov. 2007 and is a steady and constant low pitched engine idling sound like an airplane flying overhead. I can ignore it while awake, but it has caused terrible insomnia due to the vibrations that shake my brain and heart (electrically) almost as “locked in” sleeping syndrome. I had nightly panic attacks and chest pains at first. I have frequent migraine headaches. I have lived in the same house for 20 yrs and never heard it before that first night. It started the weekend that they drilled an earthquake monitoring devise 2 mile down near my house. I have had neurological exam for no deficits and they felt the sound was “in me”. Cardiac exams show tachycardia at night up to 180beats/min. I would be unable to work if I didn’t take sleeping pills every night. When I travel I am less sensitive to surrounding machine sounds (which I have trained myself to ignore as much as possible), but they do not disturb my sleep like at home.

  3. Sandaura says:

    I have forensic evidence proving the emissions are riding on the power-lines. My info is at http://www.sandaura.wordpress.com. We would like to move forward with a class action suit.

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