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The Source of the Hum

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There is now a workable theory to explain how pulsed (oscillating) radio waves at lower frequencies can activate human nerve cells. For more than 50 years, increasing numbers of powerful VLF transmitters (mobile, stationary, and airborne), have been in operation. By line of sight, ground wave, sky wave, antipodal focusing, and geomagnetic coupling, the surface of planet Earth is riddled with zones of oscillating and high intensity VLF electromagnetic (EM) radiation. A small proportion of people – I now estimate no more than four percent of the adult population – have auditory systems that are sensitive to lower frequencies and the type of biological activation described in the above paper. They may be able to detect the Hum in many places on Earth solely by interaction with VLF, while there may be another group of people who need some extant sub-audible low frequency sound or infrasound at certain frequencies in order to create sufficient auditory activation that would be interpreted as sound. Also, because the majority of Hum hearers are in the 40s or older, it is possible that certain age-related anatomical changes may initiate Hum hearing. Sources of industrial infrasound, such as mining, hydro-electric projects, windmills, high pressure gas pipelines, and massive construction projects may or may not be prerequisite or aggravating factors in some settings. When there is strong but sub-audible infrasound such as from a large industrial site, it may take little VLF exposure in order to activate the auditory system. High levels of ambient noise during the day from traffic, industry, mechanical devices, and other people, often mask the Hum and explain why the Hum is stronger at night when society has quieted down somewhat, and why the Hum can become very loud in sound-reduced rooms. If the Hum is rooted in VLF energy, it is therefore affected by the behaviour of the Earth’s magnetic field and by the height and layers of the ionosphere, solar activity, the time of day, and the season. The Hum also is rooted in the particular radio frequencies that governments use for communication. Therefore, when a powerful VLF transmitter suddenly stops broadcasting or changes frequency, this will cause a simultaneous change in the Hum at multiple locations across the planet. During a big solar storm, anything could happen. In fact it’s been shown the correlation between solar activity and posting activity on some Hum support forums is very high. The Hum can also slowly drift over an area as do the entry and exit points for geomagnetic conjugate magnetic field lines.

All I need to do to conduct the simple experiment that will prove or disprove the above theory. If I am wrong, then back to the drawing board. If I’m correct, then the first part of the job will be over.


30 Comments

  1. Lisle says:

    Thank you Glen for your research. The research paper you include explains much (though I will not pretend to understand all the equations their theory is sufficiently described). My concern, as always, is the wider implication beyond the 4% of the global population who do not experience VLF disruptions as “hearers” do. Humans are bioelectical systems, the health implications of such disruption at cellular level must be a silent, gathering tsunami. One wonders about the sharp rise in autism spectrum cases , now 1/88 (of interest as my nephew has been diagnosed) , cancers, and adverse health conditions told by members of the forum. The average age of much of the northern hemisphere is rising, highest regards, Lisle
    PS The latest Bioinitiative Report will be of interest to you.

  2. Melissa says:

    It seems like we face two issues: 1) What is the hum and where does it come from? and 2) why do some people perceive it (as a hum and/or vibrations) and others don’t?

    I don’t have the scientific background to pursue research on the first and am grateful for everyone who is hot on that trail. My interest is with the second issue because I might be able to affect it:

    Given that the hum is ubiquitous why do a small percentage perceive it and not others? How are our biochemical, skeletal (etc) makeups different that make us perfect receptors for these frequencies, while others go about unaware and unaffected?

    What are those “certain age-related anatomical changes” mentioned above? Granted, there are younger hearers; however what changes happen in old age that may contribute to perceiving the hum? Older age seems like a clue, and I’m interested in clues.

    The other factor is that not all older people perceive it, just a small percentage. So as a subset of older people, what do we have in common? That would be another clue.

    One idea is inner ear crystals, which tend to float around more in older people, and may act as “crystal radios” have an effect. Which doesn’t explain the vibrations I feel coming through the floor.

    Could there be something in our nutrition–a build up or lack of something? Others have mentioned old and faulty dental work. I had cranium injury last year–could that be a factor?

    While it seems generally agreed-upon that the deleterious affects are on everyone, whether they perceive the hum or not, the deterioration of quality of life for hearers is extreme. So if I found out I could stop hearing the hum by going to the dentist or taking more vitamin B, I’d be ecstatic. Then I’d worry about the long-term health problems, but at least I’d be getting a good night’s sleep.

    • BB Daniels says:

      My question is this: how do we know that only 4% of all people hear this? What I’m saying is this….if tomorrow, (let’s just say, for the sake of argument), every single person on this planet was told about the hum, and it was described to them…how many MORE people would say: Heck yes I hear that! I thought it was just me! Or: I thought it was some local industrial noise I was hearing!

      How many people DO hear it, but never reported it? The reason I say this, is because I just found out tonight, that my neighbor that lives across the street hears it too. She had no idea that this was a global thing. But it made me think….I hear it, my husband hears it, now I find out my neighbor hears it….if hearers are such a small percent, how could we be so readily running into each other?

      Could the answer be, that a LOT more, maybe millions more, hear it, but (like my neighbor) just dismiss it as some “normal” noise, and it goes unreported?

      My husband and I had been hearing it for two years or so, and until a couple of weeks ago, we too, had no idea this was a global phenomenon. Had I not stumbled across this site, we’d STILL be mystified and our case wouldn’t be a part of the tally now, so to speak.

      It does make you wonder if there are not a LOT more hearers than we currently think.

      • An excellent post; I have thought about the same issue, but there are pieces of evidence that suggest that Hum hearers are a small minority. Please see my blog post “Sechelt Noise Survey” and, look into the original survey from the Kokomo Hum for more details on that. When I have explained the Hum to the uninitiated, in almost every case there is a range of reactions from incredulity to fascination, but not yet have I had somebody exclaim that they too heard it. You could be right, however. This is why I sometimes use the phrase, “For those who could hear the Hum under ideal conditions”.

    • A very good point you make Mellisa about the vibration. When I first felt it, I was quite shocked at the strength of it and could feel it plainly through the mattress of the bed and by placing my ear to the wall or door frame. My wife couldn’t understand my reaction as she couldn’t, at that time, perceive it at all.

      • Melissa says:

        Yes. Yesterday sitting outside my bare feet vibrated so much on the patio pavement I had to lift them off and put them on a pillow, it was so distracting. Sometimes my teeth feel as if they could chatter with the vibration. Sometimes my stomach feels like it’s jumping with the vibration.

        When I think about it, the entire “hum” seems like it could be described (by me as a lay-person) as a low-level electrical shock, which I feel mainly in my feet and hear in my vibrating ear-drum.

      • Bill Wiemann says:

        There is a simple method to silence The Hum. Simply close your mouth and hum a deep tone for a 5 seconds. You should now notice that the Hum is no longer there and you can really enjoy the new feeling of silence !!

        Okay, this Hum will come back probably within 1 to 3 minutes after being silent. This tells us something very important! The Hum is not coming from outside somwhere. It is generated within the human body somhow and for some reason.

        Once a person knows this the can for ever stop thinking about an outside source of the Hum.

        The next step, of course, is to find out what changed in the body, or head, that stopped the hum for a very short time.

        I do not know the answer yet. Anybody reading this that knows what is going on that the hum can so easily be stopped just by humming a deep tone?

        Bill (Hof, Germany)

      • I’m glad this works for you. However, it does not match the experience of the vast majority of people who hear the Hum.

      • Melissa Padgett says:

        Bill, I tried your suggestion immediately. Sadly, it doesn’t work for me.

      • Bill Wiemann says:

        Melissa, Try again, there is a Chance that you are doing it wrong. Hum with your muth shut, touch the side of your noes with the back of your Hand. Then hum a constant deep tone. You can feel the vibrations the humming causes in your head (throat area). While Holding the back of your Hand just under your nose, you will feel the vibrations is the tone you are humming is low enough. Do not cut off the air as it goes out the nose.

        Remember, we are talking about “The Hum” which is a rather low tone. Do not use this methow for Tinnitus which mostly is a high pitcht tone.

        Hopefully others here will also try this method. I myself was so glad to have read about this on the Internet. On the first try was the very good Feeling of the Hum stopping. Remember, it will return after a short period of time. But at least we now know that the Hum is not coming from outside. Why? Well, it is not possible to stop a noise from outside of your Body just by humming a low tone, right?

        Bill

      • Again, I’m glad that this works for you, but I think you’ll find that the veterans of the Hum and this website have experimented with a variety of such techniques. May I suggest taking a good look through this blog on posts related to this. So far, the only repeated “success” is that air travel tends to disrupt the Hum for three or four days.

      • Bill Wiemann says:

        Glen,

        Thanks for your message. I did not know that air travel would do what you said. I have not traveled by air in many years. However, on flights from Germany to the USA, I do remember much Trouble with Hearing when the plane landed after a Long flight. At the time, I did not know that a Person was supposed to “Pop their ears by blowing deeply whild the mouth and nose are closed.

        Glad you mentioned the delay period after a flight. There could very well be a Connection with The Hum and air pressure, right?

        Bill

      • Bill – thanks for the reports. I have commented on this blog and on my website on pretty much a similar issues. See here most recently:

        http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN47.pdf

        and the 9 other webnotes referenced there.

        I agree that an ability to “personally interrupt” the Hum is strong evidence for it being internal. [There is a (very) remote possibility that the interruption is of some transmission link from the outside instead of being an interruption of an internal sources.]

        But with your method, while I do get MY usual halt of 1/2 second, it is certainly NOT 1-3 minutes that you observe yourself.

        Also I have questions. In your instructions, I am not sure if the back of the hand is positioned to the side of the nose or below it?

        Also, what Hum pitch do you yourself hear, and what hum pitch do you hum? [I myself found it difficult NOT to converge my vocalization to the Hum (mine about 64 Hz).] Does shaking your head as I have suggested interrupt the Hum – if so, for how long? Does playing a comparable electronically-generated tone have the same result as your singing?

        Thanks for your reporting and please do continue.

        Bernie

      • Bill Wiemann says:

        Hi Bernie,

        Thanks for your reply. I will get back to you tomorrow as it is almost 11 pm here in Germany. Off to bed soon. Oh yeah, when a Person sleeps, there is very Little that they hear. The Hum for sure not. Tinnitus for sure not.

        More on Tinnitus later as I have finally found the cause. I will offer a Website from a specialist in London, England.

        Bill

  3. Rossen Kolarov says:

    Glen, in fact such experiment has done eight years ago. At this time I was a member of Humforum. See message 6467 and all related. Later these observations had disputed on IGZAB scientific adviser. In my opinion the results don’t confirm VLF theory.

  4. I don’t understand why you’re researching this VLF hypothesis. Seems to me this isn’t an
    issue of “some people hear it, some people don’t.” There are a lot of videos on YouTube and the sound doesn’t seem in the far ranges of audibility.

    • I’m afraid that YouTube is replete with pranksters and hoax videos. And to the contrary, it is precisely because only a small percentage of people can hear it that makes the Hum so unusual. VLF seems like a logical place to look. What is your precise hypothesis that explains why only a limited number of people can hear it?

      • Alex Williams says:

        What are your sources reporting that only a small percentage of people hear it?

      • The original Kokomo study involved a large number of participants (in the thousands). Look at the reference list in Deming’s paper for the original source. My own Sechelt noise survey – which no doubt had limitations – suggested an even smaller proportion of hearers. But perhaps just as convincing, scan the Hum Database and look at the number of people who are the only person in the house who can hear it. I think the limited fraction of people who can hear the Hum is one of the few aspects of the phenomenon that almost everybody can agree upon.

  5. Melissa says:

    Purely anecdotal: When I’m hearing what sounds like a giant bee all around me and I ask friends and family members if they can hear it, so far only 2 out of about 20 have said yes: one very clearly (also over 55) and the other very faintly (under 55). Another (also over 55) said she thinks she may have heard something like it but isn’t sure.

    That’s why sites like this are such a relief and solace for me and from what I read, for others. To hear this (screaming expletive) hum for so long, with virtually no confirmation or affirmation from anyone else, was extremely isolating and upsetting. And the “uh-oh, she’s gone nuts”, “you have tinnitus” and “please consider a brain tumor” responses were common.

    To find online groups of others who clearly DO hear it has meant so much to me. My anger and anxiety have gone way down since I’ve found these forums. Now I just explain to friends and family that it’s a small percentage, and they’ve come to accept that though they don’t hear it, I really do.

    To me that’s a big victory, and now I am more likely to get curiosity, concern and empathy about the hum research and experience. And that support and concern helps when I’m already seriously affected on a daily basis by this disturbance.

  6. Craig says:

    I just found this site this morning. I feel relieved that I’m not the only one hearing this damn noise. No one else in this house can hear it. My wife was starting to get worried that I was “losing it” until I showed her all of this info. Thank you all for contributing. By the way I’m a 35 yr old male.

  7. Anet says:

    Thanks for this blog, I started hearing this low reverberating hum in the last two years and I guess my question is why did I start hearing it, what changed? It coincided with my moving house so initially i put it down to that. No one else living with me hears it and recently I have begun to hear it away from the house too. I’m 49, everyone else in my house is under 21. I cant follow all the science here but I appreciate your scientific approach. Thanks! keep up the good work.

    • Melissa says:

      Anet, your question is topmost on my mind too. What changed in November 2013 that, after nearly 59 years of life without hearing the hum, I suddenly began hearing and feeling it? Some biochemical change in my body due to different nutrients? A fall where I hit my head, which may have shifted cranial plates? A trigger event that caused neurons to become attuned to these frequencies? I wish I knew, so I might reverse the process!

  8. George G. says:

    I notice nobody has commented on ChrisG’s contribution. Click on the site provided,
    YOU MAY LEARN SOMETHING. Pay particular attention to where the hum is suppressed.

    Thank you Chris.

    G.

  9. Peter says:

    I’ve been hearing the hum for about a month now. Mostly when i was laying in front of the tv on the couch, but also sometimes in bed before falling asleep and occasionally in both locations. It did not happen on a daily basis.

    I am working as an electrician and so i could figure the hum had to be somehow connected to electricity, as the perceived noise and vibration is similar to the exposure to electric current, as of 230V 50Hz AC, which i now very well.

    So my first thoughts were it could be my fridge, the low rpm fans in my deskop computer or even the pump for the heating circulation from the room in the basement, two stories under my apartment. I could easily eliminate those sources as none of them was actually operating when i had the hum in my ears.

    That lead me to think it had to be some kind of tinnitus, which i had before a couple of times. But those were completely different noises, more like slightly clipping sinusodial tones of maybe 1kHz or higher. The cause for it was a combination of the listening to loud music, noise and strain at work, and what i believe bad dental roots and also aches in the back and the neck causing disturbances in the nervous system. So all this could be likely one explanation.

    But i’m also thinking about another one: What if the ears or the brain or both create a opposing / antiphase (+/-180°) sinusodial noise to eleminate the hum of all the electrical devices we are exposed to in our everyday life. So, as long as anything in our surroundings is running, we don’t hear the hum but we might recognise less of the ambient sounds to even the point we stop consciously minding them at all. In the evening, when the majority of electrical things stop working and we seek calmness, the antiphase noise would not stop immediately or not at all, leaving us with nothing but it.

    I hope i could give you some insight on my perceptions and thoughts on this topic.

    I would like to add that i’m 38 year old and had my ears tested some years ago with excellent test results.
    Also, english is not my mother language so i hope my grammar is not all that bad.

  10. Dorothy Lebel says:

    Here’s my Hum experience and how it stopped.

    I’ve lived in Whitehorse Yukon for 30 years. For about 6 months in 2011 (January to June) I was driven nuts by this low rumbling/vibrations which started suddenly one night. It always was worse indoors and at night, throbbing and pulsing. It got stronger in March 2011, to the point I could hardly sleep. I was unable to find the cause, and I seemed to be the only one in the building who heard/felt this.

    One day I intuitively googled “electromagnetic resonance”. That led me into the world of internet information about the Hum.

    The author of one website that I visited (Dr. Chris Barnes, Bangor, UK) theorized that our modern exposure to microwaves is making some of us hypersensitive to low electromagnetic frequencies and infrasounds. http://www.drchrisbarnes.co.uk/BANGORhum.HTM

    Our wireless devices all operate with microwaves, including cordless phones. For years I had been using a cordless phone intensively, and for years it had been sitting on the table beside my bed. So I got rid of the cordless phone, and avoided using wireless devices as much as possible. (e.g. I turn on my cell phone only for emergency calls.)

    If you ditch the wireless devices, don’t expect instant results. Prolonged exposure to microwaves probably affect us at a cellular level. It took about 3 months after I got rid of the cordless phone for the nightly rumble/vibrations to diminish to a tolerable level (i.e. July 2011). I went away in August 2011, and did not get any Hum at all during my travels. Once back home in September 2011, the Hum was felt again, but at a lower level, and kept decreasing the following months. There were a few bursts that seemed to coincide with solar flares and earthquakes.

    The Hum seems to be tied to variations of the earth’s magnetic field, and the day/night variation in the earth magnetic field, which would explain why it’s worse at night. Note that the worst Hum episode for me was 3 months before and 3 months after the huge March 2011 Japanese earthquake…

    I met only two other local people who experienced the Hum. The problem stopped for them when they moved 70 km to another place, which happened to be out of cell phone range. They avoid wireless devices too.

    Writing this in April 2017, I still occasionally faintly feel/hear the Hum at night, but it doesn’t bother me anymore.

    So, my question to Hum experiencers, do you use wireless devices in your homes? In particular, do you have a cordless phone near your bed?

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