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Minor note about the mic.com article

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I thought the mic.com article was overall quite good. I must note that if the VLF radio theory is a consensus in the Hum community, then it is not a strong one. From what I can tell, few people are pursuing it. I think the simple acoustic low frequency sound explanation appeals to many hearers. Also note the possibility that VLF radio and pre-existing sub-audible low frequency sounds may be co-requisites. I also want to say that there may indeed be a small number of different types of hums. Until hard data is available, it is difficult to reject hypotheses. 


  1. Bert says:

    I’ve heard this hum in southwest Florida. I have a scientific background. I have ruled out tinnitus, this is not the frequency level of tinnitus I’m familiar with. This, is a very low frequency, perhaps ultra low frequency and up to around/under 100 cps. It is a throbbing sound. We have no gas lines here, only underground electrical and cable. I’ve heard this sound before with some turbines in the distance, and sometimes the type used in large heating cooling systems, but we have none of those around here. The hum is also very difficult to localize. I’ve walked around outside, but have not been able to determine where it is coming from. It is real, and others have heard the same sound once they got past their comedy routine. It seems more prevalent at night, but maybe it’s just masked during the day by background nose. It does not occur all of the time, I have only heard it several times, but it is quite real and highly annoying. I have listened to some of the sample sounds on the Internet, and the sound I’ve heard is similar.

    • Please use a tone generator to match the dominant perceived frequency and get back to me. There are many free versions on the web.

      • Bert says:

        OK, will do!

      • bert5638 says:

        Online Tone Generator
        Online Audio Frequency Signal Generator
        Tone Burst X Dual Warble Sweep1
        Noise Band Sweep2 Pulse DC
        Frequency 60 Hz
        Level 1 -6 dBFS
        Frequency 40 Hz
        Level 2 -6 dBFS
        Duration 3 s


        This is approximately the sound I am hearing using the generator at this site:

      • bert5638 says:

        I think in my case I have solved the hum. It was very infrequent and at night. I was out in the garage this morning and I heard it again. I live in a boating community and generally we have smaller boats, but I think someone has pulled in a very very large boat and is idling their diesel engine to charge their batteries or maybe they are living on it temporarily. It’s a very low throbbing sound, hardly audible, but it’s there. I’m surprised they are doing this, it must be driving their neighbors nuts. Now it’s stopped.

  2. Melissa says:

    Glen, I thought this the best article yet. Thorough, balanced, and descriptive of the challenges we “hearers” as well as researchers face, due to an unfortunate association with fringe and unscientific theories. I especially liked the audio example, which matched perfectly the hum I was hearing at the time. I forwarded the article to everyone in my circle.

    On another two notes (I haven’t gotten onto the forum so will take liberties here):
    1) What news of the documentary? I was in touch with the producer/director and answered all of his questions but never heard back. Are they still planning on coming up to Vancouver?
    2) I have discovered that when I place my ears fully underwater (like in a bath) I don’t hear the hum. I have tested this dozens of time–same result. What might that tell us?

  3. Buzz Burrey says:

    Hi, been hearing ‘the hum’ for about 45 years now, don’t find it too annoying nor is it constant. However tonight it is quite loud so I thought I’d try a little experiment. I donned a very good pair of noise cancelling headphone (Bose) which work very well in an aircraft environment (I’m an airline pilot) and remove most of the low frequency noise very well. They made no difference at all so I think it’s safe to say the noise is not acoustic. Next I got my log basket, which is made of solid brass and put it over my head and shoulders (I know!!!). The affect was a very pronounced lowering of the volume of the hum. Of course this is not a proper Faraday cage but I think it points to the affect being of electromagnetic origin. What produces such low frequency wavelengths I know not but would estimate it is in the 100 Hertz range. It is possible that the frequency is much higher but the audible affect is caused by constructive and destructive resonance of two or more frequency sources which would account for the ‘droning’ sounds I hear. Anyone any thoughts?

    Buzz Burrey

  4. Buzz Burrey says:

    Further to my last post I have been looking at sources of VLF radiation. One interesting discovery I have made is that VLF navigation systems such as LORAN use frequencies down to 17 kHz and rely on phase differencing from multiple transmitters to give navigational information. The resulting waveform is pulsing in amplitude at a much lower frequency and these amplitude pulses rise and decline in strength. Whilst LORAN is not used much now in the West, Russia still has many transmitters operating for their equivalent system. Interestingly these signals are much stronger at night due to changes in the ionosphere and are not blocked by terrain or non metallic objects. These are all characteristics of the ‘hum’ as I perceive it. It may be that with advent of GPS that reliance on these systems will decline but they have the advantage of being able to penetrate water to some depth and so may be used for submarine navigation and communication by the military so maybe, if indeed this is the ‘hum’, we sufferers are not due for a respite any time soon!

    Buzz Burrey

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