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Open Forum

Follow World Hum Map and Database Project on WordPress.com
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This page is open for those who wish to theorize, summarize, or speculate. (No links, please, unless they go to information-only pages).


  1. Melissa Padgett says:

    Thanks Glen! Nice to have this space.

  2. Lisle Daverin Blyth says:

    Great stuff Glen. It’s important to have this space. Please keep it clear of intolerance. People affected by the Hum suffer enough without being undermined for their views in such forums.

  3. Melissa Padgett says:

    Here’s the topic I’m eager to explore: When I place my ears fully underwater, for instance when reclining in a bath, I hear other sounds like a nearby radio and my own heartbeat, but I don’t hear the hum. This has been consistent for the 4 years I’ve heard the hum. I’m so curious: What are other hearers’ experience? And what could it mean if it appears water does block it? Thanks for any replies!

    • SGVH says:

      PS: Maybe it is simply the water-PRESSURE filling up/around/against the ears (&/or the entire head for that matter) that blocks the Hum vs. the substance (water) itself(?)
      (I’m thinking of cars that have crashed into rivers; they say the water-PRESSURE up against the car doors/windows is so strong you cannot open the doors so you’d have to break the windows with an ice-pick or something like that to “even out the pressure” to get yourself out of the car.)
      Anyone brave enough to try, bury their head in dry fluffy beach sand (temporarily of course &/or with a breathing-hose or tube sticking out of the sand) & see if the pressure of packed-sand up against head/ears would also block Hum(?)
      (Cheaper than building iron-clad or lead-clad VLF “caskets.” 😉 )
      I’m now remembering Lisa’s & others’ airline flights removing Hum temporarily for several days > It has to be the PRESSURE up against head-ears-body that subdues the Hum, Water Pressure &/or in this case high-altitude AIR Pressure.

    • SGVH says:

      I don’t know the reason, but some entrepreneur should make ear-plugs made with water in them vs. plastic, foam, gel, rubber, &/or whatever else ear-plugs are normally made of.

      A DIY experiment might be to take 2 small balloons, fill each with just enough water to fit in each ear, then tightly secure the ends with rubberbands (that end would stick out, not inside the ear). Then use a sports headband around the head & over the ears to hold the water-balloons in place inside the ears, & see what happens. 🙂

      Do you use anything in the bath water, like Epsom Salts, etc.? Or is it just pure/plain bath water?

      Comparison: I’ve read that MWR-RF cannot penetrate ocean (salty) water but plain water does not block it since MWs actually agitate/heat up regular plain water.

      So, whatever frequency the Mystery Hum is, maybe it is somehow unable to penetrate regular plain water the way MWs cannot penetrate salty water (?)

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Melissa, It was a while back and I don’t remember all the details, but I seem to recall someone on this site saying that putting the side of their head (ie.one ear) into water, stopped the Hum.

      I do remember trying this (on both sides), and my impression was that it had no effect at all. But I have never tried fully immersing my head.

      Anyway I’m curious about this one. So later on I shall run a bath, jump in and stick my head underwater and see what happens. I will report back.


      • I think the under-water approach has little to offer. Even the slightest movement against the ear or ear canal will momentarily block the Hum, whether it be shaking one’s head or standing in the wind. I think it would take a tightly controlled experiment to investigate the water method.

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Melissa

      After reading your comment, I tried immersing my head in a bath (ie. both ears under water), but it didn’t seem to have a noticeable effect. In other words the Hum was still there.

      In view of SGVH’s comments I then dissolved about 50g of Epsom Salts in the water (approx. 200L). It didn’t make any difference. I could still ‘hear’ the Hum underwater. Maybe a stronger solution would do the trick?

      I do recall that a while back, someone on this forum mentioned that water could block the Hum for them. I’d have to ferret around in old postings to find this comment. Though, as I recall, they tried sticking one ear in a bucket of water… apparently that did the trick for them. It didn’t work for me though.

      cheers Charlie

      • Charlie says:

        Hi Glen, my apologies, I missed your post.

        The only potential ear canal disturbance that I have tried that seems to have any effect is Bernie’s Head Shake. And that was, at best, a subtle effect. So subtle in fact, that I hesitate to describe it as an effect at all.

        The head immersion thing had no effect, not subtle, not very shortlived. Nothing.

        You mentioned that “Even the slightest movement against the ear or ear canal will momentarily block the Hum, whether it be shaking one’s head or standing in the wind”. I don’t want to read too much into your remarks, but doesn’t this suggest that some physiological property of the ear canal is involved? This could well be the case for some, but in my case I’m yet to be convinced. That is, of course, barring my somewhat unconvincing results from BHS.

        cheers Charlie

      • Tinnitus can be masked if loud enough sounds are used. But then so can typical sounds, so the fact that a sound or perceived sound can be masked is not in itself diagnostic.

  4. Ann Ferguson says:

    Recordings of the Him can be found at:

    • A few people, including myself, have tried to pursue aspects of this story. Moir’s replies were vague, generalized, and he did not follow up on several inquiries. Regarding his major claim that the Hum was recorded, that is not the case. A colleague of his recreated the noise, and Moir did not provide specifics. He claimed that the phrase “hum drum” comes from the Industrial Revolution, but he could provide no references. So as far as I’m concerned, his work in incidental, and adds very little.

  5. Debby says:

    HI Glen, thanks for creating an open thread. However it is frustrating that the comments are closed (again) on the previous post where I could respond to Henrik and Bernie’s response to my previous comment. Although some people may experience a hum that is otoacoustic, I believe what I am hearing is external, because I can go out of town and not hear it. And this is travelling roughly 15km on a relatively level road (no changes in air pressure). It also doesn’t explain why foil/aluminium can block it. And I have tried many times to match it to my heart beat and it is definitely out of sync with that.
    The ear plugs/air pressure changes block sound waves from outside the ear, (look up info about air pressure on ears) so it would have to be external. After a flight, your ears are temporarily closed up, and our hearing is affected, which would make a very low vibrational sound extremely difficult to hear.
    Interesting to know of the seismic/mechanical theory of the water glass test – perhaps there is something underground, industrial or a water pump that creates enough vibration to cause it? That would explain why I don’t hear it out of town, and it faded when the power was cut.

    • Henrik, to his credit, is limiting his commentary to his area of expertise. That thread is closed and will stay closed. As for tin foil and so on, this has long been discredited – or at least rejected, as a method of blocking the Hum. I’m quite finished with that. You are more than welcome to exchange with others, but not on Henrik’s post. Cheers, Glen.

      • Debby says:

        Thanks Glen, do you have info on an experiment that shows it as discredited? Could you provide a link? I’d like to compare what materials have been experimented with.

      • Tin foil is an interesting topic, and not only because metal foil is the very icon of clinical paranoia. The notion of foil blocking has been discredited through personal experience (not mine), more formal experiments, and theoretically. If you take a look through this blog, you’ll see a post specifically on this topic.

      • Debby says:

        As the Hum has been louder the past few days (as usually happens in cold weather), I tried a few more times with the emergency blanket and noticed, it isn’t blocking it, it just makes it ‘quieter’ – probably due to the warm air in the blanket and/or the static it produces. The last time I tried it, it was warmer weather and there were possibly other noises blocking it. The out of town locations I went to were very quiet, and I couldn’t hear the Hum, although I didn’t go in any house or building out there to see if the Hum was resonating, as it seems to do inside a building more than outside. I live 2km out of town (but still near industry etc) and the Hum is quite loud here (especially during winter!) so I will try and find a building somewhere in the ‘quiet zone’ next time I go there.

  6. With regard to whether or not water would block the Hum, I can’t think of how to do an uncomplicated experiment. In the general rendering of the basic suggestion, I speculate that water would block ordinary sounds but not the (likely otoacoustic) Hum. But how to prove this? Not so easy.

    In a case of a presumed external source of the Hum, we are talking about an acoustic vibration in air passing (or not) through water and subsequently reaching the hearing structures in the ear/brain. We might suppose that an experimenter is already (dry) hearing the Hum and has arranged for other sound sources to be on-call as well. The experimenter fills a basin with water, and tilting his/her head, dips an ear into it; just enough to block the access through the air (but by making sure the immersion is minimal), avoiding complications of excess pressure in the ear canal (pressure on the eardrum). [Note – air is trapped in the ear canal. ] However, doing this on both ears simultaneously is beyond anything I can imagine (strike one).

    Now, in a simplified view, we would have (acoustic) sound striking the surface of the water in the basin and being transferred to the liquid. This in turn would emerge at the water-air interface at the opening of the ear canal and proceed (through trapped air) to the eardrum, where it would be transferred by the middle ear (hammer, anvil, stirrup) to the inner ear (cochlea), ending up again in a liquid. The problem is the IMMENSE impedance mismatches of the THREE air/liquid interfaces. The middle ear is a famous, biologically implemented, impedance-matching transformer. But the other two are horrendously mismatched and EACH transmits less than 1% of the signal (strike two).

    [A fish story: Famously you can shout to your friends while fishing, and the sound never gets into the water. But don’t kick two rocks together in the water or you might as well go home. ]

    Even in the simplified view, there may be complications (like a resonance of perhaps a few kHz in the water-blocked ear canal). If one tries a real experiment, things will get ambiguous and confounded quite rapidly. Everything you do to try to solve one problem creates others. Using a bathtub? – is a bathtub an antenna? Partly submerged (head or whole body), is there hearing through body/bones etc., even if ears are blocked? What audio signals are used to test? If the Hum did seem to go away, did it come back dry? Way too many unknowns (strike three).

  7. Steve Kiley says:

    I am a sufferer and have left many comments on Youtube after the BBC produced a video “Have you heard the hum?” which is set in Bristol UK where I live.

    Two points. Firstly, I always hear the same note which seems to be between a C and a C# (checked against my electric piano). I am an amateur musician. I recently checked against an online tone generator, and it seemed to be about 68 Hz and a square wave.

    Secondly, a few weeks ago there was thunder and lightning in the night, which is not very common. After that, I could not hear the hum until a couple of days later.

    I first heard it back in the 90s, but have only noticed it again in the past year or so.

  8. Steve – good report – thanks

    The 68 Hz is consistent with the C to C# as you know. Your remark about using a square wave reminds me of a question I have answered by email to someone but I don’t think it was here on Glen’s blog. Paraphrased:

    ” You say that frequencies of say 50-70 Hz are very hard to hear. Middle C is 262 Hz, so these frequencies are just two octaves below middle C (which would be 65.5 Hz) and there is more that a full octave even below that on the piano, which I hear just fine. What are you saying??? ”

    Well, it is pure tones below about 100 Hz that start to get difficult. In contrast, supported by harmonics (as a piano string is, and tone generators are, if you use anything OTHER than a sine wave), the low pitches are quite audible. We don’t actually know what the waveform of the Hum is – no one has ever recorded/displayed it. (Happy to be proven wrong if so.) If we had to guess, it almost certainly has harmonics.

    The thunderstorm is curious. If you can remember the date well, were there any sharp changes of local barometric pressure (say half an hour duration, up or down) associated with the storm? Such might shake up the middle ear (speculation).

    Again thanks.


  9. George G. says:

    “—-were there any any sharp changes of local barometric pressure—–?”

    Excellent question Bernie.

    : Air Travel = Hum Null for several days, as reported by Hum sufferers who fly.

    And, thunderstorms are most certainly associated with rapid local barometric pressure fluctuations.

    Slowly but surely, logical conclusions are taking form.

    Good work everybody!


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