Home » Uncategorized » For those who are new to Hum research: my statement on the source of the worldwide Hum

For those who are new to Hum research: my statement on the source of the worldwide Hum

Follow World Hum Map and Database Project on WordPress.com
Follow World Hum Map and Database Project on WordPress.com

In my view there are four hypotheses for the source of the Worldwide Hum that survive trivial scrutiny. So I start with VLF radio waves. What I present below is my best guess about what is happening and how radio theory suggests a specially designed Faraday-type unit – what I call the Deming Box – that can test the VLF hypothesis.

The interaction of VLF and ELF electromagnetic (EM) radiation with human tissue is being actively and intensely researched. If we go back to 2002 we can see an example from  Panagopoulos, Margaritis, and Karabarbounis  of one workable theory to explain how pulsed 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. The VLF radio spectrum comprises frequencies between 3 kHz and 30 kHz. By line of sight, ground wave, sky wave, antipodal focusing, and geomagnetic coupling, the surface of planet Earth is riddled with zones of modulated high intensity VLF 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 sound frequencies and the type of biological radio wave activation described in the above paper. They may be able to detect the Hum in many places on Earth solely by interaction with VLF radio, 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, together with VLF radio energy, would be interpreted as sound. 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. The Hum can also slowly drift over an area as do the entry and exit points for geomagnetic conjugate magnetic field lines.


  1. Eva Fishman says:

    Glen –

    Thank you for the most comprehensive and yet succinct explanation/working theory posted so far (for me, anyway). You also answered some of my questions from a few days ago. The hum has been gone or very mild the last 7-10 days, the respite has been glorious (I would say music to my ears, but the irony is too obvious!).
    Again, thank you for legitimizing the phenomenon. Once everything is confirmed as to cause, factors that influence, etc. we should have a “World Party” to celebrate. And send you on a well-deserved vacation (where the hum isn’t heard, of course).

  2. Arnaud B. says:

    Hello Glen, i’m joining to Eva to congratulate you for this very clear and very plausible synthesis about our friend “HUM”.

    Thank you, Glen !

  3. I’m new to your investigation altho I have heard of such noise that occurred out in the west coast. Are you sure this is caused by VLF RF or could it be ELF. I assume you know about Schuman waves caused by world-wide lightning. Back in late 1970’s I accidentally found AC currents flowing between a ham radio ground 100 feet from my house at my salt water marsh in Duxbury Mass and the “house Edison” ground. I filtered out 60 hertz and harmonics and recorded a lot of info that I could’t seem to completely understand, altho the amplitudes recorded pretty much correlated with solar output and storms. I had lots of trouble with this having the equipment blown out due to lightning strikes or serious electrostatic discharges. I have a banker’s box full of these recordings and hand turning stuff to see them. Also, I have devised an electrostatic antenna and high impedance amplifier to detect ELF signals. (Obviously, loop antennas are useless there.) I would be willing to send you much of this for your investigations, because I am getting too old to attempt much of this, being 90 plus years old, and a WWII Veteran. I have several patents awarded and am a l950 graduate of Union College with Physics major and Electronics minor. Hope you are interested to carry this further. Thanks, Robert B. Enemark, P.E. W1EC

  4. Kathy Mills says:

    Thank you so much for your work I just found this page and am so relieved. I am the only person in my house that hears it and I have been driving my family crazy with this hum. It is a deep rumbling hum like a car engine in the distance. I have spent many nights trying to figure out the source of the hum and have every electrical device in the house unplugged. I live in NW Calgary Alberta and would be happy to help figure this out.

    • I live in western Pennsylvania. I have heard “the hum” for several months, and I finally typed these words into an Internet search today:” I hear a low hum…” Yes! I’m not cray cray! I could have written your exact words. I’m not sure I care so much about what it is, but it’s nice to be validated!

  5. ladymozart says:

    I realized that when I completed the form for mapping, I didn’t indicate if I sense the hum more in one side or ear over the other. I am not certain of the importance of amending my statement now, however, it is clear that my right side is where I am receiving this sensation / hum. It is very distinct.


  6. Flying Dutchman says:

    “For more than 50 years, increasing numbers of powerful VLF transmitters (mobile, stationary, and airborne), have been in operation.”
    Mobile and airborne VLF transmitters? Are you kidding?
    VLF transmitters require very large antenna systems, usual dimensions are in the range of several hundred yards to a mile and a half. Could you tell me what a mobile or airborne VLF antenna would look like?

  7. Chicago NW says:

    Perhaps your hum is not the same as my hum. On at least one post I found annotations suggesting the perception is somewhat different from my observations. From the questions in the survey, I don’t see how those conclusions where drawn. I offered some additional items in my observations that would be simple, simpler than the tone generator question, to include. I’d like to see this taken to the next step. Can I help?

  8. Johanna says:

    Hi, another hum-newbie from europe. I want to thank everybody for sharing information and help here. My hum is just born (2 weeks) and I thought I go nuts, I was running around to find the source, until I understood, that whatever sources there might be, it is the perception of my ear and nobody else can hear it. Travel and music help, as do earplugs, from time to time the hum disappears for minutes, hours or even longer but shurely returns.
    So I listen just more to music, it helps a lot, most outer noise cancels my hum.
    Keep strong!

  9. Harvey Wolfson says:

    My hum began about 3 weeks ago and I just turned 66. Reside in a suburb of Vancouver BC. Hard to imagine how it can be so clear and distinct to me and yet inaudible to others. Even with earplugs it does not disappear. I can only drown it out with other noise, such as a fan on high speed. What is the survey referred to in the post of Dec 16/16?

    • Judy says:

      The hum I hear began five+ years ago. Only in the right ear. I was living across from a naval /airforce base ( Whidbey Island)- There may be a connection with the flying of the EA-18G “Growlers”.

      • Angel says:

        I hear it too, it’s loud. The pulsating is inconsistent, which irritates me the most. It gets louder when I put earplugs in and seems to bounce off the acoustics in certain rooms in my home.

  10. Jeanine says:

    I live in Huntington Beach, CA and the hum has been driving me crazy. When it stops occasionally, my whole body breathes a sigh of relief. I find layered brown noise helps a little. Sometimes it’s so loud even the brown noise, fan and earplugs won’t drown it out. I’m trying to find exact tone of the hum without the rumbling. If the noise was constant I could manage it better…I think, but it’s a difficult frequency to match. Ugh! Others here in HB hear it too. It’s maddening, not knowing where the source is!!!! I read that the earth actually has a pulse. If that’s the case, why is it so bleeping loud now??!! We’ve been in this house for 35 years and up until a year or so ago we NEVER experienced this. The worst part is the rumble, which seems to vibrate my eardrums somehow. Gotta go try to drown it out right now. Was so loud last night I hardly slept. My sympathies to everyone else who is dealing with this. It’s just wrong that we have to MAKE noise to GET RID OF this nerve wracking noise. This HAS to have an effect on our overall health. Sad…..

    • Jeanine – indeed it is a hard pitch to match, but please keep at it.
      Perhaps try to vocally hum the pitch as a first step. [Because it is likely to be a very low pitch (50 to 100 Hz) this is in a range that is low for even a man to “sing”.] You may need to “buzz” your attempt – so do not be self-conscious about achieving a fine voice in an unfamiliar range. At least try it when no one is listening!
      If you succeed in this transfer, then try matching the Hum, your own humming, and a reference oscillator (all three at once). The link to a good online tone generator (and much more about pitch matching) is here (see page 7):
      Every GOOD data point is important.

      • Jeanine says:

        Thanks, Bernie. I appreciate that. Right now, for the first time in two solid days of torture, it’s quiet. I know it’s only temporary so I am truly appreciating the sound of silence. A peaceful reprieve. Do you ever get random breaks from the noise?

      • Lisa says:

        Hopefully a nice break will take your mind off of it for a while, Jeanine. I heard it from the fall through the the winter here in Pennsylvania. And since the weather has been nice and the windows have been open for me to hear other noises, I now forget completely about it most days. I actually can’t remember the last time I heard it, but it was likely in February or early March. I had even begun to hear it when I traveled other places, which really freaked me out. Hang in there!

      • Jeanine says:

        Hi Lisa, Glad to hear you’ve had a break. Before it stopped I noticed also, that opening the window helped a little. Normally, it’s as if my room is pressurized and the walls are throbbing. This break I am having from it may have something to do with the fact that our weather changed yesterday. It’s gotten quite a bit warmer with a Santa Ana condition. It’s so strange how the intensity can change from day to day. I know this isn’t in my head. My husband can hear it too, but is not as sensitive to it. Praying this reprieve lasts for both of us. Thanks for replying. Nice to know I’m not alone.

      • Jeanine – you asked:
        “Do you ever get RANDOM breaks from the noise?” [emphasis mine]
        Since you said random (a good term to use), I would say NO – no breaks. MY Hum is ON 24/7/365 as far as I can tell. Much of the time It is not “there” because either I am ignoring it, or it is masked by some other noise. At times it seems louder than others. But there is never a time when I think that “it should be there based on previous cases” when it is not in fact there if I simply try. If there is any doubt, I give it the “head shake” test – does it thereby interrupt for 1/2 second?
        So I never have days (or even hours or minutes) when it “goes away” without my knowing pretty much why. My Hum is apparently loud enough to be a curiosity but NOT an annoyance. I’m lucky.

    • Melissa Padgett says:

      I empathize with going crazy. I’ve heard it for almost 4 years. When it first appeared I found myself screaming into a towell I was so distressed, as I couldn’t find a source, no-one else heard it and it made my feet and teeth shake. I couldn’t sleep and felt deeply depressed there was nothing I could do. Three things have helped me survive: 1) Glen’s site. His map and research helped me realize the hum is real, I’m not crazy, and there’s hope it will eventually be solved; 2) Discovering it’s the worse at home and at night, and I can be hum-free when in the car and in other places with a lot of ambient noise; 3) There’s a free white-noise app that I can listen to with a bud in my left ear (where I hear it) and drown it out enough to sleep. If I’m working from home I keep the bud in my ear. I’ve learned to ignore the feet and teeth shaking. i hope this us helpful.

  11. Dee says:

    I live in Eastbourne in East Sussex, UK and first heard the hum in September last year. I live in a block of flats and spent weeks trying to fathom where the sound was emanating from without success. It was suggested that it was a boiler firing up and going on and off, but I knew that wasn’t right as the sound is like a distant generator rumble – on for a few seconds then off, then on for a couple of minutes and off again. I wondered whether an elderly neighbour had a new piece of medical equipment! The only respite is when we go away, although an overnight stay at Gatwick airport was a nightmare and I was convinced I was going mad. But when we got out of the country…..peace! When we flew back I had a week of respite before tuning back in. Even my bed has become a loudspeaker as the hum resonates through the base. I have thought of suggesting to my poor husband that we move, but it seems that may not solve the problem! am so relieved to find all this stuff from Geoff Leventhall. It has saved a wasted visit to the Dr and a hearing test!

    • Pretty good report Dee. Thanks.
      Your “Hum” is apparently typical (“distant generator rumble”).
      Further (more interesting?) is that you are apparently another data point added to the small list of people for whom the Hum is stopped for a few days or weeks following air travel. Glen originally pointed this out here, and it seems to be of significance – it is telling us something – don’t you suppose?
      Two links I have previously (Oct. 10, 2016) given are:
      which told me that aircraft are NOT as simply pressurized as I supposed, and:
      which told me that the pressure regularization of the middle ear is NOT as simple as I had supposed.
      No answers, but good to have a verification of an interesting observation.

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