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Comment from Bernie Hucthins

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From Bernie Hutchins…

“The first time I remember hearing the Hum (probably about 1999) I became aware that the “sound” could be interrupted just by speaking sharply the word “THERE” to alert my wife to the fact that the “truck engine” that I was claiming to hear outside was surging. The sound dipped down every time I tried the alert her, then returned. ( A private little joke perhaps! – the Hum was generally unrelenting, but could be personally paused! ) Sudden sounds (brief grunts) or rapid nods killed it – although it came back almost immediately (about half a second). After about five tries, I got the message – the Hum was almost certainly inside my head.

Dealing with music synthesis and hearing since 1972, I surmised it was a protective mechanism of the middle/inner ear that very briefly clamped it down, regardless of external or internal origin of the source. I really tried to find the source (a truck or pump), tried to display the waveform (similar to:


which also leads to previous postings), learned of the “Taos Hum”, and eventually decided that it was an internal restless-rumbling of the hearing mechanism subject to something like an AGC (automatic gain control). Then I ignored it, completely, for some 16 years. (Incidentally, my wife to this day, hears no Hum.)

Listening late at night to a radio program in early 2016, I heard Glen discussing the Hum with George Noory. For the first time in some 16 years I listened for the Hum. It was still there, and when I grunted, it died and came back just as I remembered. I was extremely impressed with Glen on the program. I wondered if he had made the connection to interruptions and the implications as to source. Thus began my current involvement.

The interruption phenomenon is perhaps very significant. We all extrapolate from our own observations, and apparently not everyone agrees that the Hum can be interrupted in this manner. As a CLOSE parallel; much as I (and probably most hearers here) find it difficult to understand that not everyone hears the Hum, I myself find it difficult to believe that not every Hum hearer experiences the interruptions. I want to say (unfairly! – as many here may with a non-Hum-hearer) that they “just aren’t trying”. I guess it is obvious that many Hum hearers do not have adequate training with normal sound. Why would they? Because of my 45 years experience with sound synthesis, I am pretty good at hearing details, and associating sounds corresponding to engineering “signals” with what I hear, or can synthesize.

I first experienced the interruptions as basically an irritation – something weird – my voice interfering unexpectedly with my hearing. I soon understood it as a dip in an amplitude “envelope”, being an engineering “model” that helps me perceive and describe the interruptions. I think this means that an ear-protective mechanism takes over briefly. When it’s otherwise quiet, the mechanism rattles in some manner. In this view, the very common experience of Hum masking or distraction (not blocking) is a continuing resetting of the protective mechanism by daytime environmental/household noise.

While I describe the interruption as one of the Hum going away in response to some sound or motion, and coming back automatically, it is MUCH LESS a recognition of the Hum being gone, and MUCH MORE of it ramping back up in response to each interruption event you personally impose. I find grunts and head shaking most effective. You need to repeat these actions – perhaps a dozen times. In relatively short order, you will likely recognize the association of OVERT CAUSE AND SUBTLE EFFECT as being evident. Make sure you recognize about how long (how short?) a half-second is here; that you are listening for the RETURNS, not the stops; and that the effects are SUBTLE; and you may need to practice.

Please let everyone know how this comes out in your case. Particularly if you “learned” to notice the interruptions after first missing them.”


  1. Gerry says:

    Yes, but an ability to interrupt the hum simply validates its existence,  it does not point to a source!

    This is all about perceptual awareness borne of action potential(transfer of ions!) within the mechanics of auditory perception! 

    Something is producing this tonal effect and “the cause is originating from an external source”.

    Absolutely 100% no doubts!

    As I’m sure the vast majority of hum sufferers who are now experiencing this on an ever increasing scale and in turn reporting their data & experiences to this site, will fully agree!!

    • Gerry said in part October 4, 2016 AT 4:43 PM:

      “ . . . . . originating from an external source. Absolutely 100% no doubts! . . . . .”

      Gerry also said earlier, October 4, 2016 AT 5:26 AM:

      “Just to say, that I’ve tried Bernie’s test (many times!) and was ‘without doubt’ momentarily able to silence the hum in exactly the way Bernie has described on many occasions”.. . . .

      Godo, but the same time, with regard to his proposed mechanism that is at variance with physics and physiology, Gerry says: “Note: this is my suspicion only and is not proven. “

      So – we perhaps wonder about that 100% certainty. Science has rules.

      Will Gerry be so kind as to tell me where in the ENWN41 link I have made (specific) errors? Particularly, in Fig. 4B, what are the four unknowns? To be “absolutely 100% no doubts”, Gerry would have to have figured this all out and have evidence.

      • Gerry says:

        Common sense is my proof Bernie.
        Coupled with simple deduction, logic and bolstered by my own perception of the hum, which I believe to be significant.

        Also… I posted this to an earlier thread.

        You might see some semblance of proof here.


        Addendum: it has occurred to me that resting in the middle ear lie three of the smallest bones in human anatomy a.k.a ‘The Ossicles(Hammer, Anvil & Stirrup or Malleus, Incus & Stapes!)

        Ultrasound conducts(resonates!) in bone. 

        Could this be where the tone is being played(ie.the hum!), but ‘only’ after it has ‘bypassed’ the ear drum, hence making it ‘undetectable’ by regular sound recording apparatus? 

        (Or could it simply be that standard recording equipment doesn’t detect ultrasound, period???)

        Next up, action potential in the basilar membrane and onward conversion towards auditory perception! 

        Seems logical to me!

        & for those of you who think this is simply impossible?

        You might want to think again! 

        Here’s but one of a multitude of variances of how ultrasound can be manipulated using current technology:

        Note: Could this be applied or linked in some way to the hum???





        etc etc etc.


      • Gerry –

        “Common sense” is not a compelling consideration in science. If it were, the three pillars of modern physics (relativity, quantum mechanics, and cosmology) would all fail.

        On the other hand, it could apply to engineering (applied technology). For example, you envision blanketing wide areas with microwaves from satellites, or ultrasound from somewhere. Takes a LOT of energy! Where and how are the transmitters hidden. How does a satellite get enough power (surely not solar panels). Common sense does apply here.


      • Gerry says:

        But for once you didn’t say the word “impossible!!”

        That’s good to know Bernie!

        Thanks for your thoughts and opinions!


  2. Charlie says:

    Hi Bernie , Last night and tonight i have tried turning my head sharply to one side and the other. I have done this repeatedly and tried to focus intently on the Hum at the same time. The bottom line is that this technique doesn’t seem to work for me.

    I get the impression that the interruption phenomenon is quite noticeable to you, even to the point that you experienced it as an irritation. I’m reasonably sure that if it were like that for me that I would have noticed something – particularly over the last couple of evenings while I have been looking closely for this particular effect.


    • Charlie – the irritation was in trying to point the Hum out to my wife only to have it scoot. But you give me an interesting idea. What if you listen with the ostensive goal of directing someone ELSE to hear the Hum as it surges. Say “there!” and consider if you are satisfied you caught it. That is – the way I discovered it. Perhaps not for you. Thanks for trying. Bernie

      • Charlie says:

        Ok I will try the “there!” method as you describe and see what happens.

        I’m beginning to wonder if the interruption phenomenon affects people differently. As you said, differences in reporting the IP could be due to observer error – it’s a subtle phenomenon. But maybe there is another reason – physiological perhaps – for some of the variation.

        Just to sort of try and establish my bona fides as a listener/observer of sound, I’ll mention this fascinating tidbit. I play the guitar, and part of the process, for me, is transcribing – which basically means listening very carefully to someone else on a recording and copying them. This can be difficult to do – things can happen fast and pulling individual notes out of a dodgy recording requires paying close attention. I’m no expert, but I’ve done this for a number of years, so I’m familiar with having to listen pretty carefully.

        Anyway, I’ve tried paying the same sort of attention to the Hum re the head shaking etc. The best that I can say so far is that on a couple of occasions I thought I detected a slight ‘wobble’ . By that I mean an apparent amplitude wobble, it was too quick to discern frequency changes. The ‘loudness’ went down then up to its normal level a few times – this happened very quickly – in the space of maybe 0.25 – 0.5 s (roughly!). And as I say it manifested as a slight wobble which occured immediately after I finished turning my head. It was almost though the rapid head movement was jiggling something around.

        But the effect was rapid and so very slight that I can’t be sure that I didn’t just imagine it. And it only happened 2-3 times out of possibly dozens of trials, most of the time I didn’t notice anything.


      • Charlie at 5:13 PM on Oct. 5, 2016:

        “…..The ‘loudness’ went down then up to its normal level a few times – this happened very quickly – in the space of maybe 0.25 – 0.5 s (roughly!). And as I say it manifested as a slight wobble which occurred immediately after I finished turning my head. It was almost though the rapid head movement was jiggling something around. …..”

        Outstanding! Except for lacking completely reliable repeats, this is pretty much what I said. And your comment on “jiggling something around” may well be prescient. The “clamping” of the muscles in the middle ear are not just subject to loud sounds, including your own speech, but as I have recently learned, to the anticipation of (yourself) speaking, and to physical motion of the head.


      • Charlie says:

        Well this is interesting. Though I should emphasise that for me the effect was almost imperceptible. So I’m still inclined to think that your subjective experience of this phenomenon (ie. quite noticeable and frequent) is different to mine (ie very weak and infrequent). But given that we’re all built a bit differently, i guess that isn’t all that surprising.

        I was also thinking about Glen’s comment concerning the effect of air or road travel on the Hum. Perhaps the bumping around (and maybe the noises) during the trip disrupt the hypothetical Hum Hearing mechanism (!) in a somewhat similar way to the rapid head movements. The difference of course is that headshaking produces a very short interruption whereas road trips apparently can disrupt it for days. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that headshakes are short and road trips last for hours. All very speculative I know!


      • Charlie – thanks for the reminder on travel. If air travel and/or long road travel disrupts the Hum, an obvious suspect is changes in air pressure (relieved by “popping”) of the middle ear. It was George G. on the “What I heard….” thread in July 2016 (Comment Aug. 18) who found that ear popping for him actually increased the hum level (at least on occasion). So much for the effect of pressure on an individual.

        But, what about when large populations (at least regionally) experience especially loud changes? If the Hum level changes regionally, and for hours at a time, is it perhaps a relatively sudden, large change in regional barometric pressure? Really annoying bursts could be logged and compared with weather records. Statistically, a testable hypothesis. – Bernie

      • Very little data, but on this thread we have Kat7mc noting (Oct 5 at 1:33 AM) a loudness increase on Sept. 23 in Vancouver and in Scotland. What was the barometer doing in those locations at that time? In Vancouver, between Sept 22 to Sept 24, it apparently ramped from 29.92 inHg to 30.42 inHg. That’s relatively high, it seems the highest in Sept 2016, and perhaps all fall so far. In Scotland – nothing unusual! Proves nothing. We need more data. Barometric data is pretty easy. Who has been keeping data on when and where loud bursts occur?

      • Gerry says:


        I do like your references to barometric pressure being potentially conducive to hum perception. 

        And indeed, I’ve considered this on many occasions but was unable to ‘definitively’ apply a direct correlation. 

        I then considered the suns interaction with the ionosphere and our magnetosphere, followed by the moons affect on earths gravity, but alas, I was unable to make true positive connections.

        (Though still possible,  it’s rather difficult to prove without access to a Hadron collider or similar!!)

        Then I noticed that during “very” inclement weather(heavy rain & high winds) in “my neck of the woods” it goes “completely” silent…

        Note: not an interruption, but complete and total silence.

        So, using my ‘powers of deduction’ I researched and found this as what I firmly believe to be the cause of the interruption.

        Note: just my thoughts,  I’m not looking for agreement or disagreement here!

        I was even more refreshed to find that it fully supported all of my own personal deductions up to that point in time.

        Note: I’m now ‘way past’ this ‘point in time!’


        So here’s my little deduction in all its glory and one which I also believe, has been proven. 



      • Charlie says:

        I hadn’t thought about a possible correlation between barometric pressure and Hum intensity. I’ll have to use weather maps etc., but I’ll try and see if I can notice any Hum variation with air pressure changes. I’ll look into getting a cheap barometer!

        To be honest I hadn’t heard about the connection between air/road travel and the Hum before I read about it in Glen’s piece. I’d be interested to find out where that bit of info originated. A look at the primary sources could be useful. Actually, now that I think of it, I think Glen may have provided some material in this regard. I’ll go back and have alook.

        The Interruption phenomenon, and the possible travel and air pressure phenomena all seem to suggest that some inner mechanical device (anatomical) is involved. Obviously more evidence of these phenomena is still required (I realise that that is what you’re doing here).

        But if some mechanical device is involved and its actions (physical vibration?) can be changed (damped?) through headshaking etc. it suggests to me that something is actually vibrating somewhere within the ear. IF that is the case then couldn’t a sensitive mic in the ear canal detect these vibrations? According to the little bit I have read about otoacoustic emissions this technique (ie the mic) can work.

        One last thing – perceived direction of the Hum’s source. Could this be relevant?

        Looks like this forum topic is keeping you busy!


      • Charlie says:

        Hi Gerry

        Just an aside on the weather thing — When it is truly thumping down with rain here I can still hear the Hum. It even cuts through the racket that heavy rain makes on a tin roof.

        I’ve yet to check if barometrics, solar activity etc seem to be involved. To be honest I have a suspicion that they won’t.

      • Gerry says:

        Hi Charlie,

        Heavy rain and “high winds” seems to do the trick each and every time for my location at least (coastal and rural).

        But note: The hum is completely silent during these events, but only when the storm is of high intensity.
        Also, it “is not” being drowned out by the noise of the storm(which I mentioned before on a previous thread!), as my house has good modern insulation and sound proofing..
        (ie.. the storm itself is barely audible, the ‘hum beast’ is SILENT!



      • Charlie – you are a good “sounding board” so I will take advantage to elaborate. From what you say, I think you figured most of this out
        yourself, but it’s good if someone says the same thing (for me too).

        (1) The issue of air travel and long road travel stopping the Hum for a day or so was also new to me until Glen brought it up. (2) The specific issue of “ear popping” causing the Hum to become louder was brought up by George G., although the “stuffy-clearing” effect of the ear pop (for hearing in general) is familiar, relating to well-known changes of pressure in the middle ear. (3) The very temporary (1/2 second) “interruptions” of the Hum are something I have brought up, but also seem known to many Hum hearers. (4) Likewise, the notion that the Hum itself is a restless rumbling of the bones and muscles of the middle ear is not new and is a back-burner theory Glen agrees is possible. (5) What is new here is the contention that while some hearers report that the level of the Hum varies from day to day, that more than one listener (even regionally) may agree on this level shift (particularly if very loud).

        This suggests short clamping events of the protective “stapedius” muscles as the origin of the short Hum interruptions, along with pressure displacements within the middle ear as a mechanism of longer term level shifts.

        What if it is true that a group of hearers all agree that the Hum was very loud at a general location on a particular time of day (like “last night in Maine”, to make up an example). What sort of event (keeping in mind possible involvement of the middle ear) could possibly apply to a geographic region for hours, perhaps for a day or two? Obviously, barometric pressure. It’s like a plane landing, only everyone lands, very slowly, and we would not expect much unless the swing in pressure is quite large.

        Clearly, to even investigate this we need data. Data on barometric pressure is easy to get from weather sites, often as graphs for months past. It varies slowly; hours, extending to days perhaps. Large relatively sudden swings we expect to see rarely. If we can correlate these rare events with level changes vouched for by at least a handful of regional hearers, we might start a theory. Many middle ears popped and the Hum “ripped” full on. Possible.

        On this thread, I found Kat7mc claiming a loud Hum in Vancouver and in Scotland this last Sept 23. The airport weather sites supplied the corresponding barometer readings. As you might fear, there was an atypically large swing up (1/2 inHg) from Sept 22 to Sept 24 in Vancouver (a tease), but nothing in particular from Scotland. We need much more data. The barometric data can be generally and retroactively retrieved. (It’s probably better to find this later.) Any loud Hum reports are likely ONLY available on this site. We need specified times (a certain night) and specified regions (like the size of a state). Saying the Hum has been loud lately and not saying actual dates AND the region does not help.

        You ask if an otoacoustic Hum could perhaps be recorded. This is not unlikely, but it sounds like a job for an audio professional.


      • kat7mc says:

        Gerry: “Then I noticed that during “very” inclement weather(heavy rain & high winds) in “my neck of the woods” it goes “completely” silent…”

        Well this is intriguing because last night we had fairly high winds (gusting to 70 km/h) and rain, and I did *not* notice the loud “ramping up” of the hum in the late evening for the first time in ages. The hum was detectable but much quieter than normal. Today the winds are still blowing but not nearly as strongly, and no rain, but it has been a rather quiet day hum-wise. Very interesting, Gerry! Will keep track from now on during the wind/rain storms.

      • Gerry says:

        Yes Kat,

        Glad you noticed this.

        Watch out for the magic combination of both(high wind & heavy rain!), then I suspect you will escape the beast…. for a little while at least!!

        That is of course, until the ‘powers that be’ figure out how to get round this!!



      • Charlie –

        You asked about the “travel” issue. One reference to the effects of air travel seems to be F.G. Frosch, “Hum and Otoacoustic Emissions May Arise Out of Same Mechanism,” J. Scientific Exploration, Vol 27, No 4 (2013)

        “. . . .A time lag of two to three days until hum reappears after
        longer air travel has been reported by 55% of hearers in the questionnaire, and 37% of hearers report that they can stop their hum during purposeful head movements.. . . . “

        I think you need a library gateway (public of academic) to get the paper. Email me if you can’t find a link.


  3. kurt says:

    Thanx Bernie.. I find the small interruption of the hum the same as when on (sound)wave meets another wave. it jumps a bit and then back to normal. That is maybe why I find noise from the TV set (espacially talking sounds)more effective as a soundmask, it contains constant small soundbreaks that breaks the wave from the hum ( hope I make myself clear 😊 )

    • Thanks Kurt – You are clear.

      The masking issue may be important. I have tended to think of it as more of a distraction (something more interesting than the Hum) than as a continuing interruption. But as you suggest, the sounds of talking can be a “distraction”, in the sense of capturing attention, while the sound of white noise or a fan would seem to be something we soon learn to ignore completely, or at least it would be no more compelling than the Hum itself. In such a case, a model of continuing interruptions would seem more likely. Worth working out an experiment. – Bernie

  4. Lisle Blyth says:

    Thanks Bernie. A very encouraging read. The Hum only drops off for me when I press down the auricle across the ear canal and rub or put my fingers in my ears and rub vigorously, and this works, as you describe, for just a second before it returns. I’ve tried turning, shaking and dipping my head and coughing, but to no avail. Hum hearers are certainly the common denominator, so any overlap of our experiences with it are clues to tracking down or blocking the phenomenon. Sixteen years of the Hum makes you a veteran. When the Hum’s at full throttle, it’s too loud to ignore. But on quieter days, like today, it’s survivable.

    • Lisle –

      Good info. That, for me, is basically the same interruption. Thanks.


    • Charlie says:

      Hum hearers are certainly the common denominator, so any overlap of our experiences with it are clues to tracking down or blocking the phenomenon.

      Sounds good to me. But I’m interested in the common demoninator bit. Ie. how do we all know we’re hearing the same thing? Or perhaps, What is it that distinguishes the Hum from regular sensory experience? To establish a common demoninator we need some common ground.

  5. kat7mc says:

    Bernie: “…the Hum was almost certainly inside my head.”

    Bernie, from my experience (just over four years), the hum is on a timer. This alone convinces me that the hum’s origin is external.

    Jane from Central Scotland felt the need to report on this forum that the hum was so loud the night of September 23 that even her son and cat were affected. Strangely enough, I had made a notation on my calendar the night of September 23 that the hum was “deafening”, and I’m on Vancouver Island! It was the loudest I’d ever heard it, ramping up at 11 p.m. on the dot.

    Usually, I notice the volume of the hum being “turned up” ten or fifteen minutes before the hour and peaking in volume on the hour (not every hour of the day or night, you understand.) Often I’ll “feel” the hum before I actually “hear” it. At times, I experience intervals of pressure on my ears (depending on intensity, I can also feel pressure on face/chest) and vibrations accompanying the hum, so it isn’t just an “audible” thing for me. If I cup my hands over my ears, I can still “hear” the hum, but the feeling of pressure disappears, same as when I bring the back of my ears forward.

    I don’t notice an interruption in the hum by shaking my head, etc.

    • Charlie says:

      I have noticed something similar regarding the timing of the Hum.

      Periodically the Hum will intensify, or a lower frequency component will enter the mix, and sometimes when this happens I check the time. Its not unusual for this time to be roughly 10 mins or so before the hour. Not always, but it happens more often than I would have expected.

      I have wondered about keeping a log of these events to try and see if there is any timing or pattern involved. It would be interesting to compare notes with others for the same time period.


      • kat7mc says:

        Charlie, it’s good to hear that others have noticed the timing element!

        Charlie: “It would be interesting to compare notes with others for the same time period.”
        I think this is a great idea. 🙂

    • Gerry says:

      Interesting deduction Kat!

      I too can firmly equate this irritant to a clock.

      I call this the dusk till dawn ‘auto setting’.

      (There are random settings also!)

      It’s almost as if there is a deliberate and sentient act of harassment being applied ‘by an unknown force’ at this time.

      Like ‘the beast'(my latest name for the hum!) is making certain that you do not sleep soundly as it ‘knows’ it’s now close to bed time! 

      With regard to elevated hum perception in Vancouver around the 23rd of September.

      Didn’t Prince William and the beautiful Duchess of Cambridge(Kate!) touch down here around that time?


      Could elevated surveillance and national security interests through telecommunications be intensifying the hum??

      Just a thought!


      • Gerry says:

        Or could surveillance technologies utilised within this medium or perhaps ‘abuses of these type of technologies’ be the cause of the hum, hook line and sinker????

        Just another thought!


      • kat7mc says:

        Gerry, thanks for the reply. The Royal visit – yes, they were here at that time. I hadn’t thought of there being a connection but you may be on to something there.

        Your thoughts on origin of the hum are similar to mine, I think.

        “The beast” is most appropriate (much more polite than the nickname I’ve given *it*!

      • Gerry says:

        You’re very welcome Kat.

        And I concur on all points you mention here, as I too think our deductions are quite similar.

        With regard to “The Beast!”…

        Perhaps we could afford it a digital code to help the techies evaluate their collected data more smoothly????

        I’m thinking 666 might just fit the bill nicely, wouldn’t you agree!!!


  6. kat7mc – interesting.

    I am curious as to whether you notice that the Hum has turned up and then notice that it is on the hour (how exactly – to the minute?), or whether you note it is the top of the hour and listen for the Hum. Or is it perhaps the case that something otherwise masking the Hum has turned off (end of a TV show, etc.). Thanks for any additional details. This may be a different thing. What is the pitch? – Bernie

    • kat7mc says:

      Bernie: “This may be a different thing. What is the pitch?”

      I don’t think it’s unique in any way. The pitch is the same as most other hearers have described… very low, droning, pulsing. The idling truck description sums it up. Although at times the Hum does have a slight buzzing sound to it.

      Bernie: “I am curious as to whether you notice that the Hum has turned up and then notice that it is on the hour (how exactly – to the minute?)”

      It peaks on the hour (sometimes half hour) and, yes, pretty much to the minute. For example, this morning I noticed it peak at 10 a.m. It continued for about a half an hour and then quietened down. Throughout the day, loud spurts are random but later in the evening the hum normally peaks at 10, 10:30, or 11 p.m. If I wake during the night, the hum seems to have varying volumes depending on the time but I have not kept track of those so far. As a side note, I also hear/feel it outdoors from time to time, when all else is quiet.

      Bernie: “… or whether you note it is the top of the hour and listen for the Hum. ”


      Bernie: “Or is it perhaps the case that something otherwise masking the Hum has turned off (end of a TV show, etc.).”

      No. The television, music, etc., is usually at a relatively low volume so I hear and/or feel the hum ramping up “underneath” the other sounds. If I want to block the hum completely, I can usually do so using brown noise (which is what I have to use for sleep).

  7. Simon says:

    A very interesting discussion, thanks! I find a lot to agree with here, particularly being able to disrupt the hum easily, and yes I agree entirely that the hum is on a timer, as it is almost always heard during the same hours of every day of the year (9:30PM-8AM-ish) except the 25th December when it takes the day off, same as us. Anyone else noticed this?

    • Gerry says:

      Lock, stock and two smoking barrels Simon!

      Yeah, the “Beast”(aka The hum!) clocks off on Dec 25.
      Probably to sit down for its Turkey dinner and to mull over the data its collected from the rest of the year prior to the start of its Yuletide festivities!!


      • kat7mc says:

        Simon and Gerry – Interesting!

        Let’s all join in a chorus of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Or perhaps “I’ll Be Hum for Christmas”?

        Have to make fun of “it” as much as possible. 🙂

      • Gerry says:

        Scrumptious poetic magnificence Kat!

        I will now attempt to transcribe your elegant scriptures into music by way of applying a simple octave or two, screaming them from the top of my voice and bashing it out on my Guitar.

        With regard to Simon, yours and my deductions….

        Could we three be the modern day “Magi” and perhaps a hum beaming ‘spy satellite’ be the star of Bethlehem?


        Though,  I now fully expect to be scratched off the techies (or the Bynars in Star Trek!!) Christmas list, so I will be expecting a “full blast” of high intensity radiation come this fateful day.

        I’m thinking,  wrapping myself in tinfoil and climbing into a suit of armour, followed by digging deep down into the bed rock below my home,  may be the only way I’ll get some peace to enjoy my Christmas dinner now!!!


        11001001 Over & Out!



    • Marcus says:

      Been hearing the hum for well over a year _ sometimes loud_ sometimes soft but always present. Stopped Christmas day abruptly and resumed about 48 hours later.cork, Ireland

    • Gerry says:


      Five star post.

      Forgive me Simon, but these little tidbits, while at first to the untrained eye might seem insignificant and amount to nothing, could in actual fact and at the end of all this, be very significant indeed!

      So Marcus came in earlier with yet another mention of a ‘shared’ experience with the hum going silent on Dec 25.

      That’s four now, so if perhaps this could rise to 40 or 400, could it then warrant further attention????

      Regardless,  it’s already suggesting to me a commonality and an early pointer to a potential ‘reason’ why the hum might suddenly stop on a “RELIGIOUS” holiday…

      So… deductions,  deductions… deductions???

      Why might this be happening???

      Could it be a business that’s generating the hum closing for Christmas perhaps???

      Overtime issues????

      A software purge while ‘all is calm and all is bright,  round yon virgin”.. etc etc? 

      Divine intervention?

      Or perhaps “Divinity inspired mercy” by the ‘Hum powers that be??’

      Are there any other national holiday hum silence occurrences???

      (Note: I believe I’ve experienced this around Easter also?)

      Does it just apply to Christianity,  or does it occur in Islam or Buddhism too??

      Anyway,  all speculation for now until “***more people***” apply their data and highlight this ‘unusual occurrence!!’


      Strange that it’s been forgotten so quickly if you ask me??

      But it’s most certainly interesting and most definitely SIGNIFICANT! 


  8. Jim Johnson says:

    I’ve read all the comments above and find most of the comments resonate with my experience with the hum. I’ve got a couple of experiences to share.

    I’ve tried everything mentioned above and cannot force a pause or break in the hum.

    I “hear” and “feel vibrations” from the hum almost constantly. There seems to be an inverse correlation with my feelings of “well-being”. I had the flu recently and the intensity of the hum and its vibrations were very intense during the entire period I was “laid up”.

    Now that I feel better, and especially in the morning after I’ve had a restful night’s sleep I need to focus in order to verify that it’s still there, and it always is, even though it is very faint. As the day wears on it gets louder, especially if I’m doing heavy labor (such as digging up and replacing my rusty pipes in the yard that I’m currently doing). Like most everyone else, it bothers me less outside, although it’s still there. I can sometimes feel the vibrations through my shoe soles on the sidewalk. Right, while sitting at my desk after !:00 PM the hum is intense and I can feel the vibrations that are synchronized with the ebb, flow and droning of the hum through the side of my foot as it rests on a shelf that’s part of the desk just above the floor.


    Gerry mentions the three bones in the inner ear that transmit the vibrations of the eardrum on into the other mechanisms of the inner ear. There are other parts of the inner ear that I believe are even more directly related to what we perceive as the hum. Specifically, I’m referring to the ear canals.

    I replicated Bernie’s experiment which involves placing my index fingers into my ears. In my right ear I can hear, as Bernie does, a “hum” similar to the HUM. However, I hear nothing even similar to this sound in my left ear. Why? I discovered just over a year ago that I have a rare condition, probably a birth defect, called SSCD (superior semi-circular canal dehissence). (If you are curious you can read about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_canal_dehiscence. Fortunately I don’t have most of the symptoms that this condition can cause.) In my case the superior semi-circular canal, based on a CT, appears to protrude into my brain. This abnormality interferes with my hearing, probably causing some or all of the severe tinnitus and hearing loss I have in this ear.

    I find it really interesting that I cannot hear the “hum” corresponding to the insertion of my left index finger when I can replicate Bernie’s experience verbatim in my right ear (in which my superior semi-circular canal is normal).

    I am a U.S. Navy Veteran and receive medical care from the Veterans Administration. I have an appointment scheduled with Dr.Hamed Sajjadi, the Chief of Division of Neurotology at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. My primary purpose is to discuss this “bothersome hum” with the doctor.

    Dr. Sajjadi is double board certified in Otolaryngology and Neurotology/Skull Base Surgery and has taught these subjects at Stanford since 1986. I’ve sent him the article by Bernie Hutchins in which he discusses the “index finger experiment” as well as some additional links on the “world hum project”. I’m hoping to stimulate some “academic curiosity” in the good doctor and have offered myself as a “guinea pig” if he or anyone on his staff (or students) have an interest in doing research on this phenomenon.

    Based on my own experience and reviewing much of the information in the Worldwide Hum Database, I’m persuaded to believe the Hum is coming from within ourselves, and probably emanates from the human central nervous system. (I think that’s Glen’s hypothesis number 4).

    Sorry for the lengthy post. I’ll try to keep you all posted on the results from my visit.

    • George G. says:

      Hi Jim,

      Your appointment with Dr. Sajjadi may become the turning point of the Hum investigation.

      It seems to me that more and more evidence is slowly building up in support of a biological cause.

      I have lamented privately that medical professionals are grossly under-represented in the course of discussions throughout this forum.

      I sincerely hope you can inspire the doctor to pursue this subject and look forward to your report after your appointment.

      Best wishes,


    • First: Jim – thank you for your service.

      Secondly, thank you for the SUPERB report, so well-written and complete. I wish everyone took the trouble and put in the effort you did.

      If, as I and others claim, head shaking is a cause for a brief interruption, it is logical that the semi-circular canals are at least in part involved. We all spun around many times as kids and fell down dizzy. (Why did we do that!). Thanks for mentioning SSCD which is probably a new condition for most of us. We can rejoice in the fact that it is evidently not something that set you back, and will see if we are smart enough to learn what Nature is trying to tell us. The leads keep coming in thanks to the serious comments posted here.

      Best wishes and do stay in touch.


      • kat7mc says:

        Jim Johnson, George G., and Bernie Hutchins –

        With four out of nine commenters here agreeing that the hum they experience is on a timer, it would seem everything is pointing to an external source at the moment. Any serious thoughts on the timer issue at all?

      • Gerry says:

        Hi Kat.

        As always, a good sensible and logical post.

        While I respect each and everyone of us is entitled to an opinion, I feel that some are more detrimental to sorting the hum enigma out once and for all than others.

        Some opinions, while elegantly presented,  bolstered with fancy facts and circumstance,  almost appear to me as attempts to tie the research up in knots, thus slowing down real progress by way of running the whole thing around in circles. 

        So, perhaps Glen might be kind enough to open up a thread or survey to see who thinks the noise is something ‘generated in our heads only’ or something we perceive in auditory awareness as a consequence of a frequency/sound emanating from an external source.

        If the percentages come back heavily in favour of the latter,  which I suspect they will, then perhaps we will have the “true” definitive moment of what direction this research needs to take. 

        If the losing camp are unhappy about this inevitable outcome, well then perhaps they mighy consider starting their own web site replicating Glens.

        That way they can bounce their theories off one another till the cows come home and let the rest of us get on with the ‘actual’ facts which clearly show what this enigma ACTUALLY IS!

        Seriously,  this thread is going absolutely nowhere fast and as far as I’m concerned is a waste of precious ‘hum suffering’ time.


      • Well Kat, science is not done by voting; and in any case, 4 of 9 loses in most cases! But it is absurd to keep score (I certainly wasn’t) particularly when there is so much uncertainty in the data. We see people insisting that the Hum is on timer: like saying it turns up on the hour? Well – No. It “peaks” on the hour. What does that mean – it starts up at the quarter-of hour, peaks on the O-clock, and then declines? After all, the loudness is subjective. There is no VU meter or scope.

        And further, some say the jumps are at 10 before the hour, sometimes on the half-hour, and many times mostly at random. Some timer! Very tenuous evidence. The “sharpshooter’s fallacy” perhaps. In his remarkable recent book THE IMPROBABILITY PRINCIPLE (Sci Amer Press 2014) David Hand discusses this general issue in his Chapter 8 “The Law of Near Enough”.

        This ignored faulty pattern perception comes BEFORE we even consider the mechanically clock-driven world of the HEARER (alarm clocks, work schedules, TV shows); instead attributing patterns to a supposed timer-based PERPETRATOR. George below makes a very good point about circadian rhythm being an equally good reference time scale. [One likely would NOT argue a timer based on the common observation that the Hum is loudest at night, knowing that this is largely a matter of less distracting daytime noise.] I am not accusing anyone of bad faith – just wishful thinking. Read Hand’s book, and do a statistically credible study.

        There are a multitude of reasons why the perceived level of the Hum changes. But no real evidence that anything is being switched on. If you claim it’s there, present the data.


      • kat7mc says:

        Bernie: “Well Kat, science is not done by voting; and in any case, 4 of 9 loses in most cases!”

        Wow. I meant that 4 out of such a small group having very similar experiences was quite significant. Just think how many hundreds of others out there may be noticing the same thing. Until you’ve heard from them, you really have no right to dismiss our thoughts because they don’t agree with your “theories”.

        Bernie: “But no real evidence that anything is being switched on. If you claim it’s there, present the data.”

        Present the data that there *isn’t* evidence, Bernie.

        I won’t be commenting on this site after this. I dislike bias.

      • E J Rensink says:

        Make that 5 out of 10 on Kat’s count.

        It was interesting that she stated 11 PM on the dot as the ‘crank up’ hour since 11PM is also a popular ‘crank up’ time here in the Toronto area.

        It also got me thinking about the easiest experiment to conduct… namely… do 2 people who experience the hum in the same geographic area hear on/off or intensity changes at the same time?

        If so then there is almost certainly an external signal (ELF/VLF) at play that triggers the physiological response in the sufferers.

  9. George G. says:

    Hi kat,

    You present a fair question.

    The simplest mechanism I can think of which indicates a timer may be at work is the timer inside me. It is commonly known as the circadian rhythm.

    I wonder if it is this rhythm found in all of us which may be giving the illusion of an external timing device?

    Cheers, G.

  10. Charlie says:

    I would like to make a couple of points regarding my experience of the changes to the Hum’

    1. The changes I have noticed occur relatively quickly That is, the Hum will increase in loudness, and/or a lower frequency component will become more prominent within the space of a few seconds (5- 20s or thereabouts). I would have thought that was too short a timeframe for some meteorological event to be responsible. Pressure,temperature, dewpoint etc. generally change more slowly than that.

    When I was a kid I listened to shortwave radio. Distant stations would fade in and out – Ithink it had something to do with the ionosphere – these changes I’ve noticed to the Hum are a little similar.

    2. The timing thing. On a few occasions I noticed that these changes occur roughly 10 -15 mins before the hour. I have also noticed these changes at other times as well. But I haven’t kept a record of these events . So for me, this isn’t enough evidence to really say that a timer is truly involved. Nonetheless the 10 min to the hour thing made me wonder if I shouldn’t try and keep a record – just out curiousity.


    • Charlie –

      As you suspect, any change over 5 to 20 seconds seems way too fast to be meteorological. But likely the relatively sudden change is not in the atmosphere as such, but in a human body responding. For example, if there is excess pressure outside the middle ear, eustachian tubes do “pop” suddenly in a second or so (airplane landing). Since we do manage to keep a pretty good “walking around” balance without popping, likely they “leak” at a slower rate on less extreme occasions. Does anyone know?

      Can’t hurt to keep a log of changes. Particularly large, sudden changes. I worry about some reports that the loudness builds up to a peak and then abates over a period of an hour. Hard to judge this peak subjectively. You can’t see the hum on a scope or a VU meter. You could do a loudness match with a test signal. That’s how equal loudness curves (Fletcher Munson) are done. A major effort! But big and sudden – should be easy.


  11. Charlie says:

    Regarding the pressure displacements within the middle ear as a mechanism of longer term level shifts.

    I’m not a medical person, and it would be useful to get the opinion of someone who was. But I was under the impression that the pressure between the middle and outer ear was equalised via the Eustachian tube, and that normally any equalisation occured fairly quickly. Ear popping, swallowing. nose blowing etc are used to equalise the pressure after descent in a plane. Normally this process doesn’t take long and the (regular) deafness that occurs as a result of this pressure difference is relieved quickly. Unless you have a blockage or constriction of the Eustachian I don’t think it would be a matter of days to equalise the pressure within the ear.

    So if Hum deafness occurs after plane trips etc. I’m starting to wonder if residual pressure differences could still be the culprit a few days after the trip.


    • Charlie –

      I guess we would all like to have more details on air-travel as a disabling mechanism for Hum hearing. Please let us know if you find anything.

      Air travel being only an instant ago in evolutionary times (likewise even a rapid down-hill coast on the surface), our only natural experience with popping ears is probably due to illnesses. Since we are familiar (as you point out) with open Eustachian tubes or with blocked ones, and with a sudden popping transition, perhaps we can envision a slow-leak version. [Ultimately perhaps air would go in/out slowly in the blood stream.] Perhaps air travel does upset a lot of systems (famously circulation). You are right to suggest that normal- and Hum-hearing probably should recover in parallel.

      In addition to barometric pressure, what about balance. Air travel involves long periods of sitting with basically small up/down motion only (very little left-right, and hopefully no stopping). Does this mean that two of the three semi-circular canals are idle? Surface travel would have more variability, and much more up/down motion than air travel, or sitting at home.

      A few more facts would be nice.


  12. Charlie says:

    Apologies if I’ve double posted this. I cant remember if hit the post button last time.

    Regarding the pressure displacements within the middle ear as a mechanism of longer term level shifts.

    I’m not a medical person, and it would be useful to get the opinion of someone who was. But I was under the impression that the pressure between the middle and outer ear was equalised via the Eustachian tube, and that normally any equalisation occured fairly quickly. Ear popping, swallowing. nose blowing etc are used to equalise the pressure after descent in a plane. Normally this process doesn’t take long and the (regular) deafness that occurs as a result of this pressure difference is relieved quickly. Unless you have a blockage or constriction of the Eustachian I don’t think it would be a matter of days to equalise the pressure within the ear.

    So if Hum deafness occurs after plane trips etc. I’m starting to wonder if residual pressure differences could still be the culprit a few days after the trip.


  13. Gerry said in part OCTOBER 7, 2016 AT 9:32 PM:
    “…..Some opinions, while elegantly presented, bolstered with fancy facts and circumstance, …..”

    You perhaps know that scientists do not have opinions. They work from theories, evidence, and conventional (not self-proclaimed) logic. But if we change the word “opinions” to “discussions”, and if your comment was meant for me, it IS a nice compliment.

    kat7mc said in part OCTOBER 7, 2016 AT 10:04 PM:
    “….Present the data that there *isn’t* evidence, Bernie. . . . . “

    Did you forget that science does not ask anyone to “prove a negative”. Not only no proper evidence here, no DATA here, unless we consider two folks agreeing no Hum Dec. 25 (!) as serious data.

    • Gerry says:

      Well Bernie, I’m glad you took the time to reply as I would have been very surprised had you simply remained silent ‘for once!’

      Re: ‘Discussions on science, compliments and data!’

      To Bernie:

      Why, if you consider yourself a true man of science, did your book close ‘firmly shut’ back in 1999 when you first heard the hum, by way of saying that “it’s all in my head?”

      You then mentioned that you didn’t hear 
      the hum again until you “re tuned” back into it in 2016 “after” you heard Glen talking to George Noory on Coast to Coast FM.

      (Frankly I’m amazed you even admitted to this!!!)

      So from this,  I can only deduct that “FOR SIXTEEN OR SEVENTEEN YEARS” you didn’t really suffer from anything at all, or that you were too busy too notice it, or that you’re not really perceiving what the vast majority of true hum sufferers are describing here, thus implying what you perceive is in actual fact, just some random tone in your head, but in your head alone! 

      Either way and regardless,  I don’t believe your linear thoughts and singular focus are one bit helpful to the true sufferers who are posting to this site for a definite answer. 

      On the contrary,  your input is primarily serving to slow the whole progress down and is leading those who take your input seriously down what I believe to be a blind and ultimately inconsequential path. 

      I for one have finished considering or reading your deductions or web notes, as I believe they are ultimately nothing more than paper not refusing ink with little or no substance contained within.

      So, for as long as you continue to remain linear and focused on one line of deduction, which as far as I’m concerned shouldn’t even be one to begin with, I will not be interacting with you any further except maybe to try disprove you and assist others who will take the time to do likewise. 

      But my book on considering your ‘current thoughts’ and interpretations of science regarding the hum as plausible is now as closed as your linear perceptions and non proven theories pertaining to ‘your awareness’ of the Hum. 

      And by all means, please afford me the same consideration in response! 

      Thank you. 

      Oh and one further thought for now,  it’s a real shame that the poster kat7mc has decided not to contribute here again, as I believe this person shows a CLEAR understanding of what the HUM ACTUALLY IS and someone who is more than a match for you.


      • Joseph Hudson says:

        I absolutely agree with you Gerry. Thanks for saying what I was thinking.

        I would not mind if another thread was soon started, talking about the sensation of vibrations, and the level of insomnia (real) hum sufferrers experience. For me, it has been devastating and is slowly destroying me. I did not realize a human being could suffer the way I have, since I begain to experience this phenomenon. I didn’t realize hell was a real place.

      • Gerry says:

        Hello Joseph,  

        Thank you for posting your thoughts and know I appreciate your bravery for voicing them in such an expressive manner.

        Know that you are not alone in your suffering and that each and every one of us will soon ‘collectively’ bring this to a conclusion.

        It is my ‘firm’ belief that there “will be an end to this” and that this ending is coming soon! 

        In relation to your current level of suffering, may I suggest you play this on your bedside locker during sleep.

        In my opinion,  it’s one of the best white noise therapies out there at present.

        Just turn the volume up to the point you can no longer hear the hum tone, then relax and have a good nights rest.

        Best wishes Joseph,  


  14. George G. says:

    There is no need for a new thread. Check out The Hum on Google.

    You will be amazed at the endless threads catering to every fetish you can imagine.

    Yep, its all there folks; UFOs, Covert Weapons, Mind Control, Underground Military Bases, Underground Alien Bases, Lasers, Microwaves and every other imaginable secret government agenda.

    Go ahead, take a look, I guarantee everyone will find their theory.

    And the good news is everyone will agree with you.

    That’s right! Nobody will dare question you with impertinent science.


    • Charlie says:

      Interesting choices there. I quite like Underground Alien Bases meself, and with a dash of Zombie Psychotronics it’d be a perfect fit!

  15. Charlie says:

    I think that it might be helpful to note that this topic (Bernie’s) was largely focussed on the his proposed Interruption Phenomenon. And that Bernie is trying to garner info that either support or otherwise the existence of this phenomenon. At least, that’s the impression I get.

    I realise that the IP is not well established, and should it exist the reasons for its existence are still speculative. But, just mayb,e it might prove to be a useful insight. Let’s face it we don’t have a great deal to go on at the moment. Any reproducible data on the Hum would be welcome. Another piece in the puzzle – hopefully.

    Lastly, I would like to appeal to kat7mc to reconsider their decision. If it’s of any consequence, I don’t agree with what every one says. Sloppy thinking, over reliance on anecdotal information, uninformed speculation, pet theories etc. can all kinda piss me off. (Not that I’m not guilty here sometimes too). But I figure its all part of the process. And frankly I’m interested in what you have to say.

    Peace and happiness to all.

  16. A bit more: Long air travel is of course pressurized – but to what? I was surprised to find it is to only something like 11.3 psi, not to 14.7 psi. (11.3 is high enough to breathe normally and not have to make the plane stronger). So landing (always to local surface pressure) is always to a higher pressure. So the middle ear in flight is under-pressure (acclimated to 11.3) relative to the surface, and needs some bubbles of air through the Eustachian tubes (sudden popping) on landing. Consistent with experience.


    The other interesting fact is (contrary to what I thought) the Eustachian tubes are one way (!) – INTO THE MIDDLE EAR ONLY. Apparently air is removed, constantly, by being absorbed by the membranous lining. It’s a pump. Any under-pressure due to a blocked tube sucks fluid from the lining.


    One might suppose that would be a gradual change (UNLIKE popping).

    Whatever it is, it seems to “gum up” hum generation for a couple of days. Good evidence. That seems to be trying to tell us something.

  17. Debbie says:

    I have suffered from the Hum for the last six years, most particularly at night but also, on the odd occasion, during the day.
    My only relief at night is to sleep with earphones (required for both ears) playing either ocean sounds or white noise loud enough to block it.
    Even so, at times, the Hum has been so prevalent that the sound I am playing has to be at an almost painful loudness to compete and, on those occasions when headphones are not an option, the noise & vibration can be both disorienting & painful.
    I work in an air conditioned secured office with all the typical electrical devices (multiple computers, phones, photocopiers, etc) and do not hear the Hum while I am there (thank cripes!).
    I do not have any medical or science background so understanding most of the discussions surrounding those particular theories elude me.
    Regarding air travel though – I do regular flights and do not hear the Hum during the actual flight … however, my humble surmising is simply because either the sound of the plane drowns out the Hum (the same as daytime noise can) or it is not present while at altitude – hard to distinguish which as I’ve never been on a flight where the noise from the plane was absent!
    Once I have arrived at my destination and the conditions are ‘right’ (i.e. background noises fade) the Hum makes its unwelcome return. While I do feel the change in pressure during landing, I do not have to ‘pop’ my ears to adjust them and the absence of the Hum does not last beyond the flight (certainly not for days afterwards as suggested in above postings).
    In terms of destination – I hear the Hum in whatever city or town I have travelled to, although the intensity and timing does vary.
    I have practised turning of the head (which repositioned the Hum but did not offer complete absence), speaking short sharp words (gave momentary ‘absence of hum’, though only for the duration of the words) and breathing out (which had no effect at all on hearing the Hum). Any ‘absence of hum’ achieved by speaking words mimicked the same effect achieved as turning on the television or playing white noise – it appeared to merely take precedence over the Hum in my hearing – and the Hum was noticeable once words were no longer being spoken.
    I miss the days (& nights) of enjoying silence 😦

    • Debbie –

      Excellent detailed clear report – makes it so useful – wish everyone wrote as well. Thanks.

      Yes, the head shaking or short words are diagnostic and certainly not a remedy! My idea of “interruption” is the same as your term “take precedence over the Hum”. I think I like yours better, and may swipe it!


      • George G. says:


        In agreement with you, we are presented with a unique path here.

        There are several factors in Debbie’s case that jump out at me demanding further discussion.

        1. Unlike most of us, her ears adjust to rapid atmospheric pressure relatively quickly.

        This might make her more able to discern subtle Hum level changes than most of us.

        2. Her sensitivity to the Hum requires a very high (–“almost painful–“) masking sound.

        Again, we see a hint of biological superiority with regard to Hum detection.

        3. The Hum seems ever present to her despite geographic locality.

        Others have reported a lull of several days whilst en route until the Hum finally catches up with them.

        4. Most notably, she is unable to discern the Hum inside aircraft during cruise.

        Although she figures aircraft noise is masking it, her need to play masking sound at very high levels when at home suggests to me that the Hum is not present, or very much diminished, when at cruising altitude. (Aircraft cabins today simply aren’t that noisy)

        And, since several of us have conducted rudimentary checks with barometric pressure versus Hum level, and have found little evidence of any link, the next suspect is altitude, i.e. height above ground level.

        Let me expand on that; Altitude not barometric pressure.

        The further away from the ground, the less Hum?

        Your thoughts please.


  18. Jim Johnson says:

    Joseph Hudson made the following comment on October 9, 2016 at 7:01 AM: “I would not mind if another thread was soon started, talking about the sensation of vibrations,. . . . .”

    Why can’t we weave a discussion into this thread? (Perhaps, If we weave enough threads together we can create a “tapestry” showing what the HUM looks like (:>).

    I mentioned above (October 7, 2016 at 1:28 PM) that my experience with the vibrations are “synchronized” with the ebb and flow and amplitude of the HUM. It’s almost like the vibrations are “modulated” by the frequency and amplitude of the HUM. Let me describe an experience I had this last week. I was shopping for groceries in a local supermarket when I suddenly became acutely aware of the HUM and the vibrations appeared to be coming up through the tile floor much like the vibrations I used to experience aboard a US Navy ship when underway. I’ve also experienced similar vibrations when standing on a cement slab next to a large engine or diesel generator. I immediately looked up to determine is a beefy air-conditioning unit could be located immediately above me. I was near the edge of the building and concluded that this probably was, in fact, the likely source of the HUM and the vibration. A few minutes later I, again, became aware of a loud HUM and immediately stopped to see if I felt the vibration, and it was there just as it had been a few minutes earlier. This time I looked up and saw that I was under the highest arch of the building and realized that an air-conditioning unit was not the source of the HUM and vibration I was experiencing. Its source was internal to me, a conclusion I continue to come to on a daily basis. It continues to be a very “disconcerting” feeling.

    The HUM and vibration I felt in the supermarket I also experience every morning standing in my kitchen waiting on my coffee to brew. I hear the familiar diesel truck idling outside nearby, and I feel what my brain tells me are the vibrations from the engine coming up through the floor through my feet (as I rest my backside against the kitchen counter). The vibrations are consistently stronger in my feet. Why is this? I have a theory.

    I have peripheral neuropathy in both feet. My neurologist tells me that this condition is caused by dead nerve endings in my feet, ankles and calves of my legs. I’ve noticed that those are the very same areas where I have the strongest vibration sensations. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so.Hold on to these thoughts.

    I also have severe tinnitus in my left ear and moderate tinnitus in my right ear. Researchers have been searching for years to identify what causes tinnitus and their best explanation is that the brain generates the high pitched HISSing sound because the nerve endings (hair follicles) in the inner ear are damaged, and not sending sensory data to the brain for processing. These ringing and hissing sounds “generated by our brains” are what we call tinnitus.

    I’m not trying to make a case that the HUM is tinnitus, because I’m afflicted by both and I know they are very different. The point I’m trying to make is there are some similarities. People that have tinnitus have nerve damage in their inner ears. At least one person (me) has nerve damage in their feet and lower legs and feels “vibrations” that are synchronized with the HUM. If the researchers are correct in their explanation that the brain generates the sound we perceive as tinnitus, then, why couldn’t it also be possible, or even probable, that the brain generates the HUM (and transmits the vibrations) in response to the fact that the damaged nerves in the feet and legs are not sending sensory data? (Note: I realize that the human nervous system is the the most complex “network” on the planet, and that there are apt to be “many” triggers for the HUM and vibration phenomenon, but, I believe this could be one small step toward understanding the problem.)

    I’ve read enough about peripheral neuropathy to understand that its onset is usually in folks that are “getting older”. It’s not typically present in those in their 20’s and 30’s. I would guess that the “age profile” of those making up the HUM database is similar. Could those of us who experience the vibrations have peripheral neuropathy? What other attributes do we tend to have in common? In reviewing the information in the database I see that tinnitus and a host of other hearing problems are mentioned my many by participants.

    Note: I had a meeting with an ENT last week at the U.S. Veteran’s Administration. He felt that the Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence (SSCD) issue I have in my left ear (I discussed on October 7th) could be the source of the HUM and the vibrations that I’m experiencing. I will be following up with other professionals at the VA in the coming months and will try to keep you updated on what, if anything, they find.

    Jim Johnson

  19. Jim – again an excellent report. Many Thanks.

    Your comments about reported explanations of tinnitus as related to high frequency loss are good observations. It is a shock to many that as they age their upper limit on hearing may be only 5 kHz while it was 20 kHz as a youth! Alarming, it would seem, that 3/4 is apparently gone! Yet in terms of octaves, this is a loss of the top two of seven or eight total. We may not even know of any loss until tested.

    This association of “(high-frequency) tinnitus” pitch with the upper edge of high-frequency hearing loss has been tenuously reported [for example,


    (paste to browser) is fairly recent and is free online], and may be related to the “edge pitch” phenomenon I mentioned

    http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN31.pdf Both relate to neurons “failing to report” (through lack of stimulus if not actual degeneration).

    As you say, there is a difference between the Hum and tinnitus. In particular, ordinary tinnitus is up around 5000 Hz and the Hum is down around 50 Hz. While some suggest that the Hum is “low-frequency tinnitus” I didn’t find this likely because: “Why not tinnitus at middle frequencies”!

    But – what if the high/low characterization is not one of shift but of reflection? Relative to mid frequencies (say A=440 Hz) tinnitus is three octaves up while the Hum is three octaves below. Symmetry of hearing, hearing loss, and artificial tones?

    As for my Hum, I hear it at 64 Hz. My low-frequency loss becomes very sharp just below that. Even by just 60 Hz it has dropped very sharply, to perhaps 10% (I barely move the frequency knob of my analog function generator).

    It would be interesting if others can observe a very rapid low-frequency roll-off just below a well-matched hum frequency. Not an easy observation to make.


  20. George G. says:

    It seems we have reached the point where reality is dawning.

    It was so comforting to blame the Hum on some external mechanism.

    Some of us performed tests, experiments, speculated over a range of theories and built equipment trying to isolate the Hum’s source.

    Still, nobody has managed to produce a single acoustic or electromagnetic recording of the Hum.

    Nobody has managed to block the Hum or correlate it to external phenomena.

    Not a single report from a group where the Hum is synchronous.

    Partial success in control of the Hum has been by distracting ourselves in various physical ways.

    Several people have reported the experience of vibrations coinciding with the Hum, but not the majority, so the vibration reports were mainly ignored.

    But, we now have a medical term to describe these vibrations. Peripheral Neuropathy. A new door has opened.

    I enjoyed my speculating and experimenting, all in the hope of locating the Hum, but I now have to confront the obvious.

    A neurological disorder ties all the loose ends very effectively.

  21. Charlie says:

    A neurological disorder does tick quite a few boxes here.

    Though I’m not sure about ‘Not a single report from a group where the Hum is synchronous’ – the thing is that there’s no solid report of the Hum not being synchronous either. I really think that if we could get more evidence on this aspect it’d lend weight to the Hum being either entirely endogenous or the result of an external stimulus.

  22. George G. says:

    Good point Charlie.

    My appeals in the past for Hum level recordings referenced to UTC have never been taken up.

    That does not mean a synchronous Hum doesn’t exist. We just have not searched for it, so we shall never know.

    You are correct.

  23. Jim Johnson says:

    Thanks (Bernie, George G. & Charlie) for your comments.

    Bernie, it has been years since I checked in on the “state of the art” of tinnitus research. I read the material on the first link you provided and was impressed with how research has progressed. I just signed up again for their newsletter. (I also went back and reviewed your second link although I’ve read it a couple times before.)

    I will be meeting with my audiologist at the Veterans Administration and we will be attempting to identify the frequency of the HUM as well as the frequency/frequencies of the tinnitus. I’ll try to get copies of her findings and share them with you. The objective (from the ENT) will be to the frequencies of both the low (HUM) and the high (tinnitus). Then the audiologist will attempt to mask the sounds by feeding into my ears (especially the left ear where the tinnitus is severe) frequencies from special hearing aids. Personally, I don’t expect this to work, but it will be interesting to go through the process. Maybe I’ll learn something to share with you folks.

    My longer term objective is to try to enlist the help of the Department Head, Dr. Hamed Sajjadi, as I mentioned back on October 7th. (Dr. Sajjadi is away from work and won’t return until January or February 2017.) His support is key in identifying contacts and attracting interest of researchers at Stanford where he has taught for about 30 years.

    One other comment on the source of the HUM. I’ve been hearing the HUM for many years. I can’t remember an exact date. It appears to have gotten louder over time. As it became more of a nuisance my interest in identifying its source grew. At first I assumed i was hearing a 60 cycle hum from my utilities, I remember assuming that the “vibrations” I was feeling came from the six overhead fans I have in most of the rooms of my home. I envisioned them causing something of a “resonant” sympathetic vibration, which I could feel. I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains where we have frequent power outages. On one occasion I remember hearing the HUM when the power was out and assumed a neighbor was running a power generator. I went outside to check and noticed the sound appeared to move as I turned around and always came from about 45 degrees to my right.

    I finally came to the conclusion that the HUM was coming from within. I finally had the bright idea to Google what I heard as an “idling diesel truck sound” and, of course I was taken immediately to the Worldwide HUM Site. That was at the beginning of 2016. Like you, I became interested in what the members of this unique club were experiencing. I noticed that participants were split on the source of the HUM. I really wanted to believe that there was something “out there” causing it, and, after all, I could actually feel the vibrations coming through my feet from it. It’s hard to accept the fact that your senses and perceptions are inaccurate. I’m still wondering if we all aren’t suffering from schizophrenia! After all, that is a possibility if we have open minds. I really don’t think that’s the case, as those with this ailment usually has an onset much earlier in life than the onset of the HUM. Still, as I look at the “surface validity” I can see that one of the only things that all 13,000 of us have in common is the fact that we all reside in a human body and all humans are wired essentially in the same manner. All have brains and nervous systems that have more similarities than differences. To me, it is obvious that this is where we should be focusing our research. This is not a criticism of Dr. McPherson. I think he has done an admirable job slicing through the noise up to this point, and I think it’s now pretty clear that our problem is “within”.

    I have 40 years’ experience in using Excel, so I downloaded the entire HUM membership database and did a lot of sorting and sifting through the data. The more I looked, the more I became convinced that we need “more and better” data. Even though we have over 13,000 people signed up, that is a statistically insignificant number compared to the global universe of over 7 billion people. The information captured is verbal for the most part and non-quantifiable. We need to do a lot more “polling” of the membership related to specific facts and they need to enter their responses quantitatively (e.g., on a scale of 1 to ten) corresponding to a measurable scale like the pain scale used by most hospitals, at least in California.

    Sorry, this is turning into another book, so, I’ll stop.

    What do you think?

    • Jim – Good Info.

      It is useful if your audiologist is able to get high and low pitch matches, as well as a good measure of your current hearing response.

      I am unsure if her additional intent is “blocking” or an attempt at cancellation. Cancellation is trivial – MATHEMATICALLY. One simply subtracts a tone of the exact same frequency, amplitude, and phase (and for multiple tones if necessary). In terms of signal processing this can be achieved automatically AND robustly with a Wiener filter or LMS (least mean square) algorithm, PROVIDED you have physical access to the cancellation error signal (cancellation residual). Probably not here! Such an error signal would be found, for example with noise cancelling headphones, inside the earphone cup (and ear canal). While such a signal is called (perhaps misleadingly in the adaptive filtering art) an “error”, it is the desired RESULT – hopefully devoid of the unwanted signal. But we don’t know where any acoustic mix occurs with the Hum – inside the middle ear? – or how to monitor it for the signal processing hardware.

      You could attempt cancellation manually with a function generator. I have tried this and the result was a general feeling of a subjective beating (second-order beating – as opposed to a first-order amplitude beating). You need an analog function generator, one hand on the amplitude knob, the other on the frequency knob. There is no phase knob so you won’t need a third hand! You “ride” the two knobs and listen for an interesting result. The motor feedback is intuitive and quite natural (like driving a car?). What about phase! You can adjust this by making tiny adjustments to frequency. After getting the frequency right, you can speed up or down and then return to middle. Like matching speed to another car and then adjusting relative displacement (achieving maximized cancellation in this case).

      As for my “edge pitch” experiment, it works? Well – sort of. I tried a “toy ear” simulation as a pass band from 100 Hz to 1000 Hz, and fed in white noise. The enhancement around 1000 Hz is apparent – the one down at 100 Hz, less so, although it can be heard if one tries a bandpass of say 95 Hz to 105 Hz as a warm-up. Result basically as it should be. I am writing this as a webnote and expect to have audio clips.

      Since you are good at Excel, is it possible to make a distribution or histogram of pitches? That is, of people who give a definite single match, not just to a range.

      Best wishes.


      • Jim Johnson says:

        Thanks again Bernie. I have a general understanding of your above comments. I was an Electronics Technician (ET) in the U.S. Navy, after attending a year of technical training at Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay,and worked an ET for a few years after the Navy in Silicon Valley while attending San Jose State University. After graduating I have over 40 years in Human Resources specializing in compensation plan design. That’s were my Excel skills were developed (primarily business applications). At this point my technical skills are almost a distant memory. I still like to tinker, but don’t have access to the electronic test equipment I would need to try what you’re suggesting.

        May I have your permission to copy portions of what you’ve written and pass it on to my audiologist, Dr. Harrington? I’m assuming she has a better grasp of what you’re saying than I do (but I could be wrong). If she doesn’t, this will give her a place to start.

        I’m also not sure what approach Dr. Harrington will take. I have experienced “cancellation” briefly during my prior hearing tests. Often I can tell when a tone is sent into my ear because the tone results in a “quiet spot”. I’m assuming this is a match to a segment of the tinnitus frequency. I’m hoping she can identify the entire frequency spectrum covered the tinnitus, but, even if we can attenuate part of it that should give me some relief.

        As far as the lower frequency HUM I think this could get really interesting. If she is able to “block” or “cancel” the HUM that will provide some evidence that the HUM is processed in the inner ear. Some of the comments I reviewed in the database were from people who were deaf in one ear and they indicated that they could hear the HUM in that ear. Others with cochlear implants could hear the HUM. I couldn’t find anyone who was deaf in both ears in the database. That would really be interesting if we found out that deaf people hear/experience the HUM.

        If the audiologist is unable to block or cancel the HUM we really need to do further research to determine if we are really hearing the HUM or if our brains are “interpreting” the stimuli (or lack of stimuli) as “sound”. I think it is possible that the HUM could be a “phantom sound” akin to the “feelings” that an amputee experiences when they have an itch or other “feeling” from the lost limb. Even Helen Keller could “feel” the vibrations from music, even though she was deaf in both ears.

        As George said, this is complex!

        Jim Johnson

      • Jim –

        Please feel free to use any materials here (subject to Glen’s stipulations) and any materials I have posted on my Electronotes site. Below I expand a bit on the adaptive cancellation issue, and why I feel it is problematic.

        Adaptive noise cancellation under favorable conditions is automatic, robust, and often intuitive. For it to work, one needs TWO input signals: one is the noisy signal itself called d = S + H where S is the normal sound (people talking, birds, cars – or just normal silence) and H here is the Hum with which many here are all too familiar. [The immediate problem right here is that we don’t have or even know much about d except that it “bugs” us!] The second signal is usually denoted as x and is a reference (an as yet unrefined attempt to cancel – like a sine wave believed to correspond in some way to the Hum H). The goal is to adjust the amplitude and phase of x, resulting in a signal y such that y is a good approximation to H, and could be subtracted from d, leaving mainly S. This adjustment is (electronically, mathematically) automatic. [Trying to do it manually is ambiguous and impractical].

        The key here is the result of an attempted subtraction: e = D-y = S + H – y where y has not yet been optimized as equal to H. The signal e is called an error (a cancellation residual), and while called an “error” it is precisely what we would like (e=S) IF we were able to get y=H. The procedure is to mathematically minimize (as using calculus) e by adjusting the mechanism (usually amplitude and phase) that converts x to y, which can be done with a matrix calculation (Weiner solution) or by an iterative “LMS (Least Mean Squares) algorithm”.

        It sounds at first silly to say we can’t do this because we don’t have d=S+H (the Hum experience!) when this is what we say we “hear”. But we need H as an electrical or acoustic signal (or mathematical sequence) and I believe no one has ever recorded or displayed it.
        Below is a link to a 1991 posting of mine – adaptive filtering – principally for the Figure and first two pages.



      • Here is the write-up on the edge-pitch, with five audio examples. Interesting – not definitive or course!



  24. George G. says:

    I know the above is directed to Bernie, but I had to jump in when I read ;

    “—–always came from about 45 degrees to my right.”

    Same here! (90 degrees, always)

    I sustained a right ear injury years ago and assumed that was the cause.

    Jim, however, says his left ear is more troublesome.

    This is complex, huh?

    • Jim Johnson says:

      Hi George, thanks for your comments. I was actually directing my comments to you, Charlie and Bernie.

      Yes, it is strange that I appear to hear the HUM from my right side, even though my left ear has the SSCD, tinnitus and severe hearing loss. I’m not sure why this is. I do know that the left side of the brain controls the motor movements of the right side of the body and the right side controls the motor movements of the left side of the body. I’m not sure if this phenomenon applies to hearing. My logic tells me that the “sound”, if it is a sound, comes from my right, but I’m learning not to put too much stock in my perceptions.

      I’ve been trying to monitor the direction of the HUM for years and it has consistently come from my right side, about 45 degrees. However, a couple of months ago. while lying in my bed listening to the HUM I noticed that it appeared to come from my left side. This was totally inconsistent and it only occurred a couple of times. I’m not sure why. The only explanation I can think of is that my spa, located about 25 feet outside my bedroom, was running. I do know that the HUM acts as a cameleon in that it easily “blends” in with other sounds, like the vent fan in the bathroom. The other morning the sound was especially loud and I had to look outside to verify that the propane delivery service was pumping propane. On several occasions I walk out on my back deck to see if there’s a life-flight rescue helicopter picking up an injured person in the field about a quarter mile below my home. Sometimes it is there, other times it isn’t.

      Yes. This is very complex, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s a lot more complex than we currently think.When you get some spare time do a little Google research on the human nervous system. I spent several hours a while back on reading some of the online educational material. It was like “the human nervous system 101” and most of it was over my head from the get-go. It’s amazing how complex it is. I found it intriguing that there is a special neural network that processes “vibrations” and it actually has a name (probably in Latin). Anyway, I was trying to find out why I was experiencing the “vibration” sensations that appear to be synchronized with the HUM. I didn’t find the answer but figured it is probably covered in course 102. My simple hypothesis is that these “vibration” neurons probably run parallel to the neuron pathways (or the section of the brain generating the HUM) that carry the loud HUM and the vibration sensations are something similar to what is called “cross-talk” in electronic communications.

      Jim Johnson

      • George G. says:

        Very interesting Jim, and I will take a look at the way our nervous systems operate.

        I am quite familiar with cross-talk, and while thinking about what you wrote in regard to left-right brain hemispheres controlling right-left motor movements, I remembered one of the questions on the Hum Data Base asking if hearers are left or right handed.


        I wonder if the administrators of the survey allowed enough scope to cover the very thing we are now discussing?

        Only Glen can answer that one.

        Cheers for now,


      • Jim Johnson says:

        Hi George,

        I noticed, again, last night that I heard the HUM coming consistently from the direction of my spa (regardless of what direction I faced physically). I verified that my spa was on. The noise from the beefy pump was actually causing my brain to “redirect” the source of the HUM to appear to consistently come from the direction of the spa. I could actually hear the distinctive whining sound of the spa and could differentiate between it and the lower droning sound of the HUM. This time I turned completely in a circle and the HUM (and the spa pump sound) came consistently from the direction of the spa. Currently, the spa is off and the HUM is back to its usual direction, 45 degrees to my right, regardless of which direction I’m facing.

        I’ve also observed another characteristic of the HUM the past few days. I use the microwave in my kitchen frequently to heat food and to reheat my coffee. I noticed about a week ago that when I start the microwave the sound of the HUM “automatically” rises several decibels higher so I can continue to clearly hear it above the sound of the microwave. When I first noticed this effect I didn’t believe I had heard what I had just heard, but I’ve consistently validated and re-validated this phenomenon every day for about a week. I can’t explain it, but I know what I am hearing. This behavior is very similar to the AGC (automatic gain control) function of a radio receiver that automatically adjusts the volume of a signal to maintain a constant volume even though the signal strength becomes attenuated.

        Jim Johnson

  25. George G. says:

    I’m not sure if if my last comment caused offense. If it did, then let me rephrase it in the content that was meant.

    Could the survey question asking if hearers were left or right handed be a display of broad outlook, designed to cater for future discussion such as the one I am currently engaged in?

    Only Glen can answer that one.

    • The question about handedness was designed to link to the question about dominant ear, just in case there was the type of neurological relationship along the lines of what we see in stroke victims, for example. We have found an over-representation of ambidextrous people, however. I mentioned the survey form redesign and the fellow on the Yahoo Forum because unless we get a massive influx of reports, it just might be too late to ever redesign it (i.e. four years to get 13000 responses). When I first started this project, I was essentially tinkering with the technology that could make it all work, and I had no idea that things would take off in the way they did. (Very early on, the map was wide open for editing, with no security at all!) Only after I began in-depth study into radio theory, audiology, and sound, I realized how superficial some of the questions are. Perhaps it’s worth thinking about how to approach the whole thing again, in a way that incorporates whatever data we do have. But I think I would need a Google Fusion Table expert to do that.

      • George G. says:

        So, for all practical purposes, there was ample scope built into the survey to deal with neurological aspects to the Hum discussion.

        Very good.

  26. Jim Johnson says:


    I’ve read your comments from November 29 where you provided some additional comments on the “adaptive cancellation” method and I must agree with you that it is problematic. There appears to be too many unknowns and too many moving parts for this to be a practical solution. I was really stretching my mind to try and grasp a few of the concepts you were describing in your 1991 research, and, quite frankly was coming up short. (I kept thinking to myself that “there ought to be an app” on Google Play Store that does this in a couple of clicks of the mouse. I remember the good ole days of DOS and have no desire to go back to them.)

    I do, however, find some comfort in knowing that there are some “wonks” like yourself out there in engineering (and many other disciplines) that delight in drilling down into the sub-atomic level of any type of problem that presents itself. It’s good to have you on this team!

    Jim Johnson

  27. Charlie says:

    I haven’t been here lately because I’m moving house.

    I do like the idea of trying to get more data via polls etc.. But it is Glen’s site, and apart from anything else he might not be too keen on the prospect of more work.

    Usually i can (with a little effort) follow what Bernie says, but I’m afraid the stuff about adaptive cancellation went over my head.

    Jim, I’m curious about what you may have found in the database. I have no Excel skills, but in the past I had thought about learning a few just so that I could dig around in the DB myself.

    I am partly deaf in my right ear and that is generally the direction from which the Hum seems to emanate. Usually in/from about the 2 o clock direction, though sometimes it’s more about 3 o’clock, ie directly on my rhs.

    I live in a small house with a tin roof, when it rains it makes a racket. But I can still ‘hear’ the Hum above this noise. It does seem as though the Hum gets louder at these times, but when I block my ears to check , the Hum manifests in its usual way (ie. not louder than normal). I haven’t been systematic about this, but I have noticed on occasion that I can perceive the Hum above ambient sound which I would have otherwise thought to have been loud enough to drown it out.

    One last thing – I am curious to find out if people ‘hear’ other sounds in the Hum apart from the usual 50 – 130 Hz that gets most of the attention. Personally i often notice a ‘whitish’ noise (a little like distant traffic or surf) in the mix as well. It tends to come and go and there is no real sense of pitch to it.


    • I am happy to retool the database, but I need a Google Fusion Table expert to help out. None has come forward.

      • E J Rensink says:


        I was conducting some experimentation in attempting to block what I believe might be an electromagnetic signal triggering “the hum” inside my head. I was going to construct a DC Helmholtz coil at first but since I had a spare box full of powerful cermet magnets and some steel pails lying around I thought “What the heck”.

        The regular steel pail alone was worthless as a shield but I thought I detected a modest decrease in “the hum” with the circumferential magnet field arrangement I constructed. Prior to attempting the same magnetic arrangement with a 304 (17%Cr, 9%Ni) stainless steel pail and some duct tape, I decided to try the pail on first.

        It’s difficult to put a number on a qualitative decrease but it seems like it produced a reduction of somewhere between 30 to 50 percent in the hum and took the edge off the oscillations that were producing a fluttering effect in my brain. No magnets even required. A second stainless bucket placed over the first that gave an even greater decrease to the point that “the hum” was now a mere whisper of it’s former self.

        2 nights of quiet restful sleep so far.

        This is suggestive of an ELF source. Kilometer plus long radio waves love to penetrate but they do not take kindly to bending like microwaves.

      • Please detail your full setup so that others can replicate it.

      • E J Rensink says:

        Glad to.

        Here’s the simplified ‘ELF Bucket test’ protocol. (Why ELF later)

        1) Head to your local Princess Automotive or equivalent and purchase the 16 liter stainless bucket. ($25) You could get away with the 9 liter one for $14 if you have a small head but there will be little room for padding so you won’t want to sleep comfortably in it.


        It’s a very generic bucket that is widely available made from a common austenitic 304 alloy (non-magnetic). They will all be made of this alloy since it’s the only one you can spin-form other than perhaps 316.

        2) Purchase some in canal foam earplugs to reduce both ambient room and internal bucket noise.

        3) Prepare a comfortable chair in a dark quiet room and improvise a blindfold if you can (optional). The idea here is to create as sensory deprived an environment as possible. Basement settings are ideal but not necessary. There may be a ground wave present in the signal. (More later)

        4) Wait until the hum returns in force. Usually 11 PM onward.

        5) Place earplugs in both ears, sit down and wait for 5 minutes or so until internal ‘noises’ due to insertion abate.

        6) Establish your qualitative unshielded background hum level by listening intently to the hum for several minutes ‘through’ the earplugs. Sit upright, eyes closed, relax jaw etc, clear all thoughts and FOCUS INTENTLY ON BOTH THE HUM PEAKS and your brain’s physiological response to them. (Usually an irritating micro-tension/ fluttering response of sorts for me).

        7) Once you have fully familiarized yourself with the peak intensity and it’s effects, still sitting upright with eyes closed, place the stainless pail over your head and once again FOCUS INTENTLY ON THE HUM PEAKS for several minutes. If the pail does not fully rest on the top of your head or shoulders unaided, you may position and hold it with your hands but do so in as relaxed a manner as possible.

        8) Toggle back and forth between the shielded and unshielded states until you can conclusively (or not) notice a difference in experiencing the oscillation peaks. The effect was immediate for me with a 30-50% qualitative reduction and the peaks were ‘smoothed’ to the point of no longer eliciting an intracranial physiological response. In other words you can still hear the hum but it no longer bothers you.

        If you wish to experience a deeper reduction in hum intensity you can either place a second pail over the first or just bend forward with the single bucket until your head and neck are in a horizontal position. The mitigation/shielding effects are higher in this position, which is great because that’s how I now sleep. (Why later)

        That’s the simplified protocol however I have already moved well past this point with combos of up to 5 shielding layers of various forms with cermet inserts. The first 2 layers produce the majority of the shielding effect which I believe is primarily rf reflective in nature as opposed to any mu-metal like permeability (magnetic field entraining) from the nickel, iron or chromium content.

        I have yet to achieve a consistent elimination of the hum but have experienced periods of several seconds with no signal punctuated with small remnants of the peaks, or so I believe. Unfortunately without a second party to experience what the unshielded levels were during the test interval it’s mostly informed conjecture.

        I am aiming to construct a Helmholtz coil this coming weekend and will order some mu-metal to round out the passive shielding possibilities.

        Let me know how your test of this protocol works out for you or for anyone else who is interested in experiencing relief from this global hum condition.

        Best wishes all!

      • Interesting. I hope there are readers who attempt to replicate this. Glen.

      • Charlie says:

        Ok I’ll give it a go. If nothing else I’ll end up with a pretty good bucket.

      • E J Rensink says:

        Thanks Charlie

        Spend a couple of minutes with the bucket on, fully concentrating on the hum then remove the bucket to listen again.

        The difference is very clear to me. And if it is clear to you as well then electromagnetic waves are in fact the primary cause of the hum.

        It wouldn’t be the first study to prove that electromagnetic waves can be ‘heard’ by a small minority of the population either.

        Interesting report below…

        “The “hearing” of electromagnetic waves is an established fact. It appears that this takes place by direct stimulation of the nervous system, perhaps in the brain, thus bypassing the ear and much of the associated hearing system. It is a possible, perhaps the most probable, explanation of the reports of hearing meteors and auroras. It is also a possible tool in the investigation and treatment of problems in hearing.”


        In addition to continuing the search for the best alloys for passive reflective shielding I am going to take a crack at passive magnetic shielding with rare earth neodymium magnets. This weekend however is reserved for an active shielding experiment with a MacGyver’ed DC Helmholtz coil.

        Thanks again to all who attempt this experiment.

      • E J Rensink says:

        While everyone is waiting for the results or hopefully performing their own “ELF Bucket” tests it may not be a bad time to read up a little on ELF waves and what they are capable of. The Wiki link below is a good starting place. I use the definition that limits ELF frequencies to 3,000Hz.

        The best conditions for the atmospheric propagation at the D and E levels of the ionosphere occur at night. This is coincidentally when most hear the hum the loudest.

        The worst conditions occur during electrical storms, morning hours when the ionosphere is unstable and during solar storms. Many of those who have posted here have also reported an absence or mitigation of the hum at these times.


      • Hi E.J. –

        The Clyde Ingalls paper you cited brings back memories. It seems very old (50 years?). Clyde was in fact my freshman advisor back in 1963, and I believe he was near retirement then. Clyde would sign your registration slip and then harass you if you told him truthfully that you were NOT going to church each week. As another sign of the times back then Clyde was attempting to construct a two-story “penthouse” anechoic chamber (never finished – it was used for storage of junk). The sign of the times was that the only access to the room was though a back door of the 4th floor men’s room!

        I tried a quick test of the pail idea using a classic black-enamel-on steel canning pot (about 5 gallons). I heard my normal Hum. The only difference I noticed was that I heard myself breathing against the side (a distraction) and a minor resonance. The same thing happened with a 5 gal plastic bucket.

        Well – here are some questions:
        (1) What is your “normal hum” like? In particular, what pitch? Are you convinced it’s the typical Hum?
        (2) What do you mean by “bending” of RF?
        (3) So a metal pail is your experiment. What were your controls? A plastic pail? Pillows?
        (4) Can you really sleep with a pail on your head! Once in the army we were supposed to sleep one night with a helmet liner and steel pot because some fool was drunk running through the night with a live grenade!

        Sincere thanks for a detailed report.


  28. Charlie says:

    I haven’t found a bucket yet but I have found a large (10L) saucepan, which fits over my head quite nicely (even if I say so myself). I tried reproducing the method as closely as I could, but unfortunately I didn’t notice it having any perceptible effect on the Hum.

    I’m moving house at the moment so doing this stuff is a bit awkward, but later I will try and locate a larger ss bucket and have another go.

    I’m unsure as to the principle behind this idea – is it about blocking or deflecting ELF? If so, is a stainless steel bucket really capable of doing this?


  29. George G. says:

    Let’s think about this.

    A researcher recently designed and built a task-specific mild steel cabinet.
    Let’s call it the D Box.

    The composition and thickness of the material were selected to satisfy a proven formula.

    A professional welder put the cabinet together, and a very expensive seal designed to block VLF/ELF electromagnetic radiation completed the hatch of this cabinet.

    The researcher climbed in and closed the hatch.

    His report states the Hum was still present, with no noticeable attenuation.

    On the other hand, we have a steel bucket————-.???

    I’m sorry, but VLF/ELF radio waves simply don’t stand up here.

  30. Charlie says:

    I’m inclined to agree George. But EJ said it worked for him/her. So I thought it’d be worth a try – just on the off chance that there was something to it. (and for me, as I said, it didn’t work)

    I guess it was the choice of shielding material ie stainless (bucket) vs mild steel (D box) and the differences in their respective magnetic properties that made me wonder about this one.

    Oh well.

    • Charlie & George –

      I’m not sure what to make about EJ’s dropping out of site for a week. At first I took the pail reference as a “tin-foil-hat” joke. But EJ seemed otherwise serious, and detailed; but lacked any discussion of what for him/her constituted a normal hum experience. EJ’s hum might be something else (acoustic?) entirely. Hope he/she will come back.

      I agree with Charlie that “doing this stuff is a bit awkward.” Indeed. Not only are the breathing echos disconcerting, but you have to do it when no one will accidentally spot you head-in-bucket !


  31. […] Bernie Hutchins on Comment from Bernie Hucth… […]

  32. A few weeks ago Glen informed me that this comment line had been popular. While I have followed this thread, it has wondered, and I had to stop and think what the original topic was. Ahhh – the “interruption phenomenon.” Originally I had given some hints on how to “observe” whether or not the interruption that I (and many others) hear is present in another individual’s experience with the Hum. This was some help, but it is notoriously difficult to describe in words what something sounds like, unless it can be compared to a more universally familiar sound. In dealing, as I have been for over 40 years, with synthesized sounds, it is easy to forget that a mathematical description (or even a good verbal account) of a sound works well mostly with audio engineers, not with general listeners. This is in no way intended to suggest personal failings!

    So here I amend the discussion with an audio example. This is a synthesis – a simulation, and not a recording. It suggests what interruptions sound like.


    The tone is 10 second long at 70 Hz. (Many hearers hear a slightly lower Hum pitch – I stopped at 70 Hz for Internet quality reasons.) Two interrupts are imposed on the otherwise steady tone, one at about 3 seconds and the other at about 6 second. These interrupts are delineated by an (imposed) noisy burst of a very short 0.07 seconds (a simulated grunt or headshake) followed by a drop in amplitude and a ramp back up of about 1/2 second. [You will also hear “clicks or pops” at the start and end of the file (a natural audio transient phenomenon). These start/end clicks may seem simultaneous if the file auto-repeats)]

    This example is mainly intended to give the temporal nature of the interrupt phenomenon.

  33. George G. says:

    An excellent reproduction Bernie.

    I’m particularly impressed with the recovery delay time after each interruption, very realistic.

    Good work!

    • George – thanks for the feedback. I hope more folks will respond; particularly as someone might remark something like “so that’s what you were talking about.”

      You are already pretty knowledgeable. So here are some notes on the actual ramp-back-up I settled on which may interest you. It is from 30% to 100% in 1/2 second, hence 750 (denoted rampdurn) samples, denoted nn=0,1,2,…749, at a sampling frequency of 1500 Hz. The shape is a raised (negative) cosine of duration 180 degrees. Thus:

      ramp = 0.3 + 0.7*(1/2)*(1 – cos(pi*nn/rampdurn))

      This I preferred to a first-order exponential from 0 asymptotically approaching 1.


      • George G. says:

        Thanks for the data Bernie,

        I am surprised at the short ramp-up rate, my slow senses deceive me into believing it’s much longer.

        The 30% amplitude at the start of the climb is also a surprise, I have learnt something here, thank you.

        Now, regarding your wish that more people respond, I would like to add something;

        Should there be any medical professionals out there following our conversations, please listen to this amazingly accurate simulation, you may hold the key to this mystery.

        Note: If possible, listen with good quality headphones.

  34. Charlie says:

    Hi Bernie
    I’m probably doing something stupid here, but I can’t find the sound file. I have tried putting the address you gave into the browser but doesn’t bring it up.
    Any clues?

    • Charlie – It looks as though WordPress has added characters to the URL line that I posted for the file – not sure why. (1) Try just highlighting the text INSIDE the quotes and clicking a GO TO on that. Or cut/paste that text into the URL space of your browser. (2) This should.at least download the file to your download folder (displayed lower-left) and you can click on that to run it, or the sound file may auto-play. (3) It may be necessary to click on some permission button that pops up to run this

      (4) If all else fails. email me. I can put a pdf file on the Electronotes site, with the link, and perhaps the Matlab code for and figures – which might be a good idea anyway.

  35. Charlie says:

    Thanks Bernie, I downloaded it and I can now replay it on VLC or Audacity.

    The grunting method always gave me somewhat ambiguous results – I was never really sure if there was an interrruption or not. But I got better results by quickly shaking my head. By this I mean shaking my head as in saying no, but only moving it 2 -3 cm either way and shaking it as quickly as I reasonably can. This can achieve quite a noticeable interruption for me.

    I have only been using this type of head shaking very recently so its too early to say much about about it. However one thing I have noticed is that the time that the ramp back takes sometimes seems to vary a little. And the whole effect seems more pronounced at some times rather than others.


    • Charlie – quite so.

      The head shake is better than the grunt. And it is, rather exactly, best achieved AS you indicate (shake “NO”, couple of inches, as fast as possible, then stop).

      I used the “simulated grunt” (noise burst) as being something audible.

      I also have a file of the interrupts without the grunts, and it sounds very much like the soundless head shake (as you would expect). You don’t get the “alert” that the interrupt is imminent, but the recovery portion that follows delineates it nicely enough.

      In the next few days, I will put up a Webnote (and announce) giving the code, displaying the plots, and playing THREE examples: no interrupts (shake simulation); interrupts; and announced interrupts (grunt simulation).

      Thanks ever so much for responding – a reliable reporter is invaluable!


  36. Charlie says:

    Oh yeah I forgot to add that the audio you supplied does fairly closely simulate the effect that I get.

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