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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).


102 Comments

  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.)
      OTHER SUBSTANCES/ACTIONS THAT COULD CREATE “PRESSURE” (?):
      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 (?)

      • Jennifer says:

        I have been thinking the same thing…I’ve noticed that if I stick my finger in my ear it blocks/absorbs the Hum. While regular foam and wax earplugs are useless, I wonder if some earplugs that simulate flesh (gel or water or maybe something food-based) would work. How we would put it in our ears is another problem.

    • 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.

      cheers

      • 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:
    http://www.speechresearch.co.nz/hum.html

    • 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.

    Bernie

  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!

    G.

  10. Benoit Massin says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am Belgian, I am 48 years old and I am a sound technician.

    For information, this text has been translated into google, please excuse the translation defects.

    Since 2010 I have encountered health problems and discovered last January that they are related to infrasound.
    My spouse I met in 2013, who lives with me since 2014 and lived 500 meters behind my home, has been experiencing the same problems since 2010 as well.
    After a neighborhood survey, I found that my neighbors complain about the same degrading health effects except for those working more than 10 km from the city and those who take relaxing treatments like most seniors.

    After seven months of research I discovered that the origin of HUM comes from the frequency inverters.

    Experiment: Take a wall frequency inverter and connect a Led bulb.
    The drive in the maximum position will produce a stable current and the bulb will make a continuous light.
    As soon as we decrease the frequency of the dimmer the bulb will start to blink slightly as it receives an unstable current.
    Now, remove the bulb and replace it with a motor.
    The frequency converter in the maximum position will generate a maximum speed and stable behavior of the motor.
    As soon as we decrease the frequency of the drive the motor will start to vibrate as it receives an unstable current.

    This phenomenon is well known to those skilled in the art of variators, they are “harmonics” in the current decomposed by the frequency variation..

    What is the relationship with HUM?

    Here is the first source of Hum discovered:

    In our cities, where the population density per square kilometer is very high, there are a lot of large grocery stores.
    Over the last thirty years, refrigeration units have been increasingly placed on roofs to reduce noise, vibration and heat in shops.
    The cold rooms and refrigerator cabinets have quadrupled in volume in 30 years. Consequently, the refrigeration machines followed in size.
    As electricity became more and more widespread, electricity consumption had been increasing and a solution had to be found to reduce it.
    Electronic frequency inverters were then placed, which, in a ratio between the outside temperature and the inside, give a certain speed to the motor.
    Some stores have between 6 and 38 fans on the roof that have diameters of 60 to 100 centimeters each!
    Noise standards have been established for these devices but the infrasounds are inaudible by the human they have not been taken into consideration.
    In addition, the standards refer to the number of decibels per device and does not take into account the addition of decibels by the addition of devices!
    The calculation is the same for a speaker, whenever it is doubled the sound increases by 3db!
    Simple example: One machine = 60 db ^ 2 = 63 ^ 4 = 66 ^ …. 32 = 75 db! And I dare to imagine the number of decibels if you count several stores in the same city!
    Moreover if the shops are at the bottom of a valley, this one will amplify the sounds like a giant loudspeaker!
    It is for this reason that the people who live on the hills feel it more.
    All this explains why the people who describe the HUM speak of a motor or wind noise, we find both in a refrigeration group!
    In the case of several stores in the same city, infrasons with a range of several kilometers create a component of sounds that synchronize for a second and then desynchronize, resulting in the impression of a passing truck And goes away changing speed!
    This HUM continuously diffused by refrigeration units is very harmful because the vibration time of the nervous system is greater than the rest time, it increases all sorts of sensitivities in the body. The more we live in the “contaminated” ray by the infrasounds the faster we will be sensitive. The worst is the night, the “audible” sounds being greatly diminished our body perceives the infrasounds more continuously which aggravates the situation.
    Increased sensitivity for sinus, eyesight, hearing, nerves, muscles, joints. Nausea, tinnitus, excess tension, tight neck, headaches, migraines, light sleeper, tiredness, lack of concentration …
    I have been able to ascertain with certainty the source of infrasons from this source, between June 18 and 22, 2017.
    The outside temperatures were exceptionally between 28 °c and 35 °c, the refrigeration units rotated to the maximum, no harmonics and therefore no infrasound and no HUM!
    From Monday to Thursday, there are no ailments at the joints, head, neck, restorative sleep … Happiness!

    After acquiring a soundmeter specially designed for infrasound measurement, (Rion NL-62) I found in my home that the frequency that corresponded most to my feeling was 4 hz.
    When I went into town at night, I measured points from 83.7 db to 4hz for only 50 db above 20 Hz at the foot of a supermarket.

    After some research on the vibrations created by the harmonics, I discovered that these use the machines prematurely, after some time, one finds a deterioration of the ball bearings or play in the axes and cracks to the buildings … Therefore, From years to years the power of the infrasons increases.

    One solution would be to impose an annual inspection of the machines and check that they are fitted with quality anti-harmonic filters.

    • Lisle says:

      Benoit, this is interesting. Thank you. I don’t understand why the HUM is so loud far out of town, in rural areas and in the bush. No significant refrigeration. Here, in the city, there is a drone/rumble HUM, out of town it is
      higher, like an unguarded mic. But still with the oscellation, or irregular ‘dip’.

    • Good job investigating a case or what is apparently environmental noise due to cooling machinery. It seems, however, to be DIFFERENT in most every noted way from the widespread (often very far from grocery stores!) classic affliction known as “The Hum” that is discussed here.

      • Benoit Massin says:

        Thank you for your answers. If you align 50 speakers of 1000w each and send a powerful low-frequency sound, at night you will hear it more than 20 km and the last frequency you measured at the farthest will be in the lowest frequencies highest that you measured near the machines. Only one refrigeration machine is capable of this but the addition of all the machines of several supermarkets in the same city (56 in my city) can!
        In my research that lasted several months and often at night, I observed some phenomena : In my feelings, the closer I am to the set of machines, the more stable the HUM. The further I go, up to 20 km, the more variable it is.
        The device proved my feeling, close to the machines the wave was more linear and farther at the same frequency, the wave was less.
        Also, it is not only in the refrigeration units that one finds frequency inverters victims of harmonics. The pumps in the water catchment stations linked to huge pipes in the ground are also equipped and the power is adjusted according to the flow required to maintain a constant pressure. A powerful infrasound in a solid conduit or in pressurized water can be felt at tens of kilometers.

      • Benoit –

        Perhaps it would be helpful if you concentrated on observations and put off explanations/speculations till later. Like:

        (1) What pitch does your hum match to?

        (2) You and your spouse hear it. Who else, and under what circumstances?

        (3) Is it louder outside? How far from the markets do you hear it?

        (4) Does it interrupt for about a half second if you shake your head briefly or grunt?

        We need more details – you say you are a sound technician so technical details would be most helpful.

        – Bernie

    • JP says:

      Hi Benoit,
      Thank you for taking the time to write all this. Your description of the voltage fluctuation causing the sounf (as opposed to no sound running the motor in full throttle) reminded me of this text by Chris Barnes, please have a look: http://drchrisbarnes.co.uk/italy.htm

      Do you, or any other reader, have additional information on the electromechanical properties of commercial refrigerator motors compared to the Francis turbines in Barnes’s work? I’d be happy to hear any information. I’m a physicist myself, but lack an engineering background.

      Cheers,
      JP

      • Benoit Massin says:

        Hello JP
        We thank you for your comment and the shared link that proves once again that we are not far from the 4hz and that one of the main causes of Hum would be frequency converters. Around my house, within a radius of 5 kilometers, there are 11 wind turbines, 3 nuclear power stations, a hydroelectric dam, several sewage and feed pumping stations and 76 fans of the refrigerator unit with a medium diameter of 80 cm, of a chemical factory with several vertical and horizontal mixers … Practically all are regulated by frequency converters. All of these machines are between 20 and 40 years old, and except nuclear, none of the other installations are controlled and regulated by laws below 20 hz. Most of these machines work 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, they wear out, they vibrate … Last month, I did a lot of measurements with the Rion-NL62. I will communicate them in a few days to compare.

        Cordially

        Benoit

  11. Benoit Massin says:

    @ Bernie:

    1) It is more powerful above the machine level and is even more up the hill. The valley resonates the HUM and amplifies it like the cone-shaped membrane of a speaker. In freezing weather, it is even stronger because the vegetation becomes a more rigid material that better reflects the sounds.

    2) Of 30 people questioned in Hill 10 hearing it and 20 have health problems related to infrasound. Out of 10 people questioned at the bottom of the city, 2 hear it but none have health problems.

    3) It gives the impression of being stronger inside but it is not fair. It feels more indoors because the audible sounds are diminished!
    Take a quality noise helmet and it will be the same outside as you feel in your car or your home.
    After 3.2 km to the east of the refrigeration units, there is no more HUM. In the other directions there are other towns and villages that have shops, I have not yet tested the limits.

    4) There is no interruption if I make an effort or move my head.

    Other experience:

    My wife and I went some days to Italy before August 15th.
    Arrived at friends, no HUM. I remember falling asleep for a moment, I felt very relaxed. In the evening, we joined our hotel about fifteen kilometers away, a grand hotel, once in bed, the HUM was there!
    The next day in the morning looking out the window of the corridor I noticed the refrigerating units with 14 fans placed on the roof of the restaurant located on the ground floor.

    • Benoit –

      Thanks – ever so helpful. I would still like to know what pitch you (and others) match to. I saw a mention of 4 Hz for something, but not sure what.

      I am becoming quite convinced that what you are experiencing is real (acoustic) environmentally generated (locally strong) noise due to the BEATING of fans noises of slightly varying rates. Such first-order beating (amplitude) is well-understood and can be annoying:
      http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN213.pdf

      Your analysis and experiments seem quite valid and are to be applauded, and address real concerns. However, this differs in most aspects from the “World-Wide Hum”.

      – Bernie

      • Benoit Massin says:

        In my research, I am very rational, at the base, before being a sound technician, I am an electro mechanic, I studied pumps, fluids, air flows … I approached everything could create a HUM, thanks to the World Hum Map Database, I proceeded by elimination. What is the machine in all these places marked with a red point ? If you analyze the map with a zoom, you will find that the high concentrations of red points are found where the population density is greatest, in large cities. Then take a closer look and you will see that these cities are all located on a river or ocean and there are few red points on the river. The greatest concentration of points occurs when the relief takes the altitude and these points decrease when the relief is less steep. The situation is the same every time. There are however some exceptions in the middle of nowhere, the people who have informed these isolated points may be a neighbor who has a worn air conditioning where are in a pool of water with a pump that vibrates and creates an infrason that spreads In water under pressure or resonates in large pipes with low unpressurized flow.
        With regard to the frequency of 4Hz, it is above all the spectrum that best corresponds to the sensation of the HUM. This does not certify that the World Hum is at 4Hz. The world Hum is variable in intensity and frequency, which corresponds to machines controlled by frequency variator. The frequencies and sound levels that the machines emit vary according to the speed of the motor and the number of machines. If you deviate from the machines, you must consider the resonance of the buildings and the relief. Closer to the machine, the “BEATING” will be more important provided that there is only one machine or several machines synchronized on a single variator If you move away from the machine, the relief resonance and the number of machines provide more stable infrasons. Most studies do not take this into account because they have been carried out in the laboratory and not in the field at various machines distances.
        The World HUM is a component of several sounds coming from the same type of source !

      • Benoit –

        There is nothing “wrong” with what you have presented. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the ongoing issue of the so-called “World Wide Hum”; – except as it is a real (acoustic) environmental noise of apparent infrastructure origin that is a distraction (similar to the Windsor Hum of a few years ago). All the evidence you relate is inconsistent with most of what we have investigated here.

        For example, the pitch is way too low (below 4 Hz compared to 50-100 Hz for The Hum); you can search out the source’s locality and travel away (but The Hum moves with us); and you apparently assemble tens of people nearby all of whom hear it (while most don’t hear the Hum at all even when coached). (Further, the concentrations of red-dots likely reflect a density of people who also own computers – not of sources.)

        I am guessing that you are NOT among the 1 in 50 people who hear The Hum. So you have to guess about what many of us “hear” (as of course we guess about what you are talking about!). In that, you are lucky! You (despite being a sound technician) have declined to report a typical Hum pitch in the 50-100 Hz range that “hearers” do clearly hear and match. So, am I right that you don’t hear it? Most of us who do hear it have almost certainly invested considerable effort in a futile search for any explanation as mundane as a refrigeration unit atop a nearby store.

        Feel free to email me as we are likely boring others here:

        -Bernie hutchins@ece.cornell.edu

  12. Benoit Massin says:

    Hello Bennie,

    Thank you for your answers.

    Observe the frequencies that most people who hear HUM have given.
    Frequencies range from 4 to 500 hz!

    https://fusiontables.google.com/DataSource?docid=1k0M6FS4o04CnQXynRHwUomymVwBBz0tzW491DvpR

    The waveform is heard by each of us differently with the sound generator.

    Most listeners, however, describe the HUM as a stopped car in front of the house or farther with a diesel engine idling.

    Experience:
    Click here and on “play”:

    Next, run the “Tone Generator Online”:
    http://onlinetonegenerator.com
    Set it to 4hz with a square wave. (Wave of disturbance by harmonics due to frequency generators)

    Finding: the two beats are pretty much the same and it’s not unpleasant!

    Now stop the diesel engine sound.
    Do you support the sound generator for a long time?

    It is helpful to applaud all people who have studied HUM until now, but have they found its source?

    Do not you think it would be worth watch into other tracks?

    I think it is helpful to discuss our views and experiences here with respect for all of us and if one of us has exaggerated on the subject, Dr. Glen MacPherson will point this out.

    I might be wrong, you may be right, but before you drop a track, you have to be certain that this is not the cause.

    If other people are reading this and have more resources to study this new track, how will it be explored without debate?

    Each of us is enriched by the experience of others.

    Cordially

    Benoit

  13. Carl says:

    The recent and ongoing mystery of the Cuban embassy american and canadian diplomats ill from sonic silent weapon story , proves that at least the militairy knows infrasound and microwaves can be weaponised to damage people , the sound emitted heard only by the brain of those targeted , and it causes damage , nausea , extreme headaches, tinnutus hearing loss , balance loss , and brain damage, while not damaging or being heard by others in the same house.

    So this is reason for concern in regards to past non disclosure of such weaponry- such devastating silent sound weapons only heard by the targets were considered conspracy stories of v2k targeted individuals.

    http://www.iflscience.com/technology/mysterious-sonic-weapon-attacks-cuba-stranger/

  14. Henrik says:

    Organizing our thoughts

    It struck me the other day that the direction the Hum research is now pointing to is similar to the way Diabetes was split up in Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2 quite early in medical research. Diabetes 1 is the persistent one, which some people are more prone to, there are some genetic influences, and the main thing is, that it stays with us for life, even if we can keep its symptoms under control with certain medications and lifestyle changes. Diabetes 2 is acquired through bad nutrition habits, some people are more prone to get it, but it can be cured practically totally through lifestyle changes and/or mild medication.

    See the similarities? The “Type 1 Hum”, the otoacoustic Hum, is permanent once it has affected us, and we are now trying to understand the pathogenesis and in the end try to find the remedy, the “Insulin” for the otoacoustic Hum. The “Type 2 Hum” is the one caused by actual environmental audio and infrasound vibrations transmitted through the air and (much farther) through the ground. Here we are likewise trying to identify the factors, which cause only a small percentage of people to be affected, for which we use the broad term hyperacusis, or hypersensitive hearing. The key indicator here is that the Hum stops when we move out of reach of the source, like we can cure most Diabetes 2 by cutting out carbohydrates.

    This kind of conceptual categorization would not exclude any of the possible root causes – those, which sensitize some 2-4% of the population to become affected by the Hum. We still leave open all the avenues to explain the external triggers and sensitizers like long-term RF exposure (WiFi routers and cordless telephones), electromagnetic fields from the power grid, medications, nutritional factors, climate variations, even solar storms and seismic movements if you want. But I believe it would be a good first step to know whether the Hum you hear is something that you can at least some times “run away from”, or something that is created in your head.

    • Henrik –

      I basically agree. I think your two categories have had a de facto existence as “The Hum” (idling truck, 24/7/365, 50-120 Hz pitch, heard when otherwise quiet) and as “some other noise” that bugs an individual or two; the latter, quite variously encountered and usually quite inadequately described.

      As for miscellaneous hum/noises, each is of course an individual gremlin. In contrast, the Hum, as I have described several times, has a diagnostic test – the head shake:

      http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN46.pdf

      I myself noted this general interruption phenomenon about 20 years ago. Henrik – I believe you are a non-hearer so you cannot experience this interruption. The synthesized audio examples in the link above should give you the idea. Because not all people have the same attention to audio details, you will not be surprised that some don’t get this idea – ramping back up, unerringly, in about ½ second.

      At the same time that this interruption test serves as a definitive test for the traditional Hum, it is an important clue that the source of the hum is internal to the individual:

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

      We have a fair chance of understanding the Hum (your Type 1). But Type 2 (manifestly being NOT-Type 1), if attempted as a uniform study, seems quite impossible – having so many individual presentations. The classification/separation is not an easy task for the general public, regardless of how some of us may think it through. Not to mention that mundane explanations will not always be welcomed!

      Bernie

      • Henrik says:

        Bernie,

        1) I would not dump the acoustic/environmental “Hum” as a side track or “Non-Hum”. It has the same distressing health effects on the victims as the internally generated Hum. In my opinion it is equally interesting and necessary to investigate why only some people in the same room and time hear it, while others do not. It is a different mechanism that causes low-frequency hyperacusis, but it is no less damaging to those affected.

        2) You mention the headshake as a “definitive test” for the otoacoustic Hum. But can that really be generalized to all Hum sufferers? How many have been able to reproduce that test? An otoacoustic Hum that is generated in the auditory organs, the inner ear lobes, can and should be sensitive to mechanical movement, but for example Tinnitus, which is basically a high-frequency version of the Hum, is a neurological phenomenon. It is far from obvious that “hyperactive” or oscillating neurons would react to a head shake. Could you elaborate on that aspect?

      • Henrik – thanks –

        You said: “ 1) I would not dump the acoustic/environmental “Hum” as a side track or “Non-Hum”. It has the same distressing health effects on the victims as the internally generated Hum. In my opinion it is equally interesting and necessary to investigate why only some people in the same room and time hear it, while others do not. It is a different mechanism that causes low-frequency hyperacusis, but it is no less damaging to those affected.”

        I agree that there can be concern for real, externally originating, perhaps electronically displayable, annoying, low-frequency, physical vibrations. Such sounds typically derive from power distribution equipment or motors, and often, potentially at least, can be switched OFF. But these should not be in the same category with The Hum, which can’t be (has never been?) displayed/recorded.

        You also said: “ 2) You mention the headshake as a “definitive test” for the otoacoustic Hum. But can that really be generalized to all Hum sufferers? How many have been able to reproduce that test?”

        Well – a fair number or people commenting here (including, I believe, Glen) experience this. Not everyone. One would not expect unanimity because, if for no other reason, some are experiencing something different; and because (frankly) some just aren’t trying hard enough. (It’s a subtle test, but also a robust one once mastered.) A non-hearer probably can’t imagine how trustworthy it can be. It’s like a voice-recorder AGC that ramps up to pass background noise when no one is talking, only with a significantly faster response time,

        You also said: “. . . for example Tinnitus, which is basically a high-frequency version of the Hum . . . “

        I would contend that they are almost certainly of unrelated ORIGIN.

        You also said: “It is far from obvious that “hyperactive” or oscillating neurons would react to a head shake. Could you elaborate on that aspect?”

        The head shake test (or grunting, speaking, or hearing some other sound) is MECHANICAL. My best guess is these cause the stapedius muscles of the middle ear to clasp and release (like an AGC). [One sometimes noted aspect of the Hum is that while basically 24/7/365, it’s disappearance for days can follow air travel, suggesting involvement with the middle ear.]

        Bernie
        hutchins@ece.cornell.edu

  15. On the “We should ….” thread Janet Menage wrote, October 27, 2017 at 10:07 AM

    “Hi Bernie, just go to the bioinitiative.org website where you can find all the latest research. I picked out the references for effects of EM radiation on auditory systems in case it was relevant to the Hum discussions.”

    Honoring Glen’s request to move the discussion to “Open Forum” I reply here.

    Janet – excuse me – but IF the references you cited are there, you need to provide the actual links. Most of what is on that site is poorly supported conjecture, and very unlikely to be relevant to the Hum. Above all else, wide spread occurrences of cell-towers are predated by many years by the Hum. Wrong track.

    I am not unsympathetic to those who resist cell phones and smart meters. Not that I suppose that they are dangerous, or implicated as a cause of the Hum, but the rather because the apologists for the utilities are quite over-zealous and outrageous. If you are amused by officials and their experts (paid white-coats) using technical descriptions such as FREQUENCIES in units of milliwatts/square-cm or a factor of 375 in units of kilograms/square-centimeter (so – how many sq-cm to a kg – a whole LOT I bet!), you might enjoy an account of my recent encounter with such officials/experts (see pages 3-5).

    http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN50.pdf

    Bernie

  16. Henrik says:

    Since I have spent half of my life working for wireless operators, I feel duty-bound to comment on the repeated mentions of cell towers.

    I am an engineer, without citation marks, (M.Sc.E.E.) and have spent my entire professional life with telecommunications and RF and microwaves. The radiation any person on the ground can experience from any cell tower or microwave tower is at least 1000 times LOWER than what you get when talking on your cellphone. I have been working for several network operators and met numerous times with “concerned neighbors”, who resist a cell tower in their neighborhood. But no math can ever convince everyone. As long as people believe in UFOs and Homeopathy there will always be those who believe that cell towers are dangerous. They may be ugly, but not dangerous, and they are actually a perfect common lightning rod for those who live very near them.

    However, knowing the physics, I am not at all so sure that the WiFi routers and cordless phones we surround ourselves with are totally safe in the long term. They do not directly cause the Hum, because then it would stop when we go out, but they can possibly contribute to sensitization in one form or another, or have other health effects, not related to the Hum. These sources are much closer than cell towers – typically a few meters away – so their radiation level is much closer to what we get from a cellphone when talking, and they are on 24/7. Smart meters are of two types, those which connect using the power grid (PLC = power line carrier) and those which use RF (WiFi). The latter type would fall in the same category as other WiFi equipment in the house.

    In my house, I have set our WiFi router to the lowest possible power level, placed it several meters from my desk, and I have avoided using cordless telephones all my life. And my smart meter is PLC type. So I can sleep relatively well.

    • Jess J says:

      Cell towers are not dangerous? Not only are humans enslaving themselves to a very dangerous technology, they are harming nature as well, but many people don’t think outside their own bubble.

      Everyone should watch this British documentary “Resonance: Beings of Frequency”

      Henrik, if you are unable to understand how homeopathy works and apparently believe humans are the only life force in an infinite universe I doubt you will watch the film, but I hope you will. You may learn something.

      Jess

      PS: I want to thank Janet Menage for her very insightful comment regarding the involvement of EM regarding the hum. I was unable to post a reply to her yesterday as it appears the thread has been closed?

      • Okay, so I think that everybody has made their point – except for me. The comments about homeopathy may seem gratuitous, but they are germane in the sense that even though homeopathy is complete quackery, there are people who believe in it passionately despite there being no solid scientific evidence for it. (I must admit that I was gratified to hear that my daughter’s sociology professor swallowed an entire bottle of homeopathic “sleeping pills” in front of her class and then went on with her lecture). My assumption is that Henrik mentions this as a parallel for some people out there who are making certain unfounded claims about EM energy. From scanning the serious research out of Scandinavia for five years now, I think the long terms health impacts of high levels of wireless communication are probably in a different category from homeopathy. And it’s a real shame that so much junk science is drowning out the legitimate work being done in that field. I think there may be health concerns stemming from some wireless technologies, but I’m not sure what relevance that currently has to our investigations here. I think there is overwhelming evidence that GigaHertz range frequencies do not directly cause the Hum. As to the question of whether long-term exposure to certain EM frequencies can lead to hearing the Hum, that’s less obvious, although there are some troubling timeline issues with that, as well as the fact that the Hum does not distribute by density in the way that technology does.

        I regret not being able to properly sort out all these comments into their proper threads, because WordPress.com provides no easy way to do that. Nevertheless, I feel like we need to regroup.

        More importantly, we need experiments. I’ve suggested several. Once I get the Dutch, German, and Russian versions of the Hum survey up and running, I can make a big push to conduct one of them – specifically, an attempt to record the Hum in the way we would an otoacoustic emission.

        So let’s close the thread.

      • Henrik says:

        Jess,

        You addressed a comment to me, here is my reply:
        1) Homeopathy is a matter of faith. And that is a kind interpretation – Glen was more to the point. The philosophical definition of faith is “A strong or unshakable belief in something without supporting evidence”.
        2) My slur about UFOs was imprecise. Some UFOs have shown up on radar, and are definitely not imaginations. And we sure are not alone in the universe. But to claim that what has been spotted is necessarily of extraterrestrial origin is presently a matter of faith.
        3) I only mentioned these examples to illustrate that we can never convince everybody with real-world facts. This project tries to find one or several causes and triggers and a possible remedy to something that plagues millions around the world. The Hum is not a matter of faith or imagination and certainly not a spiritual phenomenon. It is very real for those who suffer from it.
        4) “Beings of Frequency” is total gobbledygook, a.k.a. mumbo-jumbo. Resonance is a physical phenomenon. Frequency is a measure, not a phenomenon. It is like saying “Beings of Velocity”. Even if “Beings” is construed as a spiritual concept, nothing can consist of a measure. The kindest I can say is that it has nothing to do with The Hum.

  17. Peter says:

    Hi all, since I’ve a sneak peek at discussions on this site long time ago I wanted to ask a question I find very important:

    Have any of the active members of this community actually discuss the hum phenomenon with a neuroscientist or a inquisitive neurologist? If so, what were the responses? Did anyone actually try to initiate some research on this topic?

    Based on my limited insight, I’m assuming the hum is most likely a brain-internal effect, possibly / likely caused by currently unknown cause.

    Or – quite likely – it falls under broader spectrum of disorders like tinnitus and actually already is being researched, just such research is not very widely known or being published as it progresses very slowly without fancy results and there are not that many sufferers (compared to “classical tinnitus” for example). That would be natural as psychical internal phenomena like this are still very hard to “dissect”.

    P.S. Now I recall I briefly discussed the hum with a general practitioner (i.e. not a specialist) and she told me low-frequency tinnitus isn’t anything new (and also mentioned her colleague specializing in hearing tends to listen to everything on lowest possible volume 🙂 – but we did not go deeper than that.

    • George G. says:

      Good comment Peter,

      And yes, there were several posts from Jim Johnson relating his Hum experiences with neurologists. We still wait for his report.

    • Jess J says:

      It’s funny how all general practitioners and their ilk, just like everyone else, have very different opinions. Makes it rather difficult to come to a solid conclusion based on what they have to say. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when my GP claimed she doesn’t hear anything but has “a feeling something isn’t right”. Not one word did she utter about ridiculous hearing tests, or the “t word”, etc., because she has other patients experiencing the same phenomenon and appears to possess an open, functioning mind. The Hum I hear is on a schedule, as a few people discussed last year on this site, and were more or less dismissed by, I think, one guy’s opinion (makes us wonder about the integrity here). I don’t think anyone with that thing called tinnitus has accompanying pressure on the ears, pressure waves in the head, heart palpitations, feeling vibration, or do they describe the sound as an idling truck. They don’t say, “Gee, there goes that annoying noise again – it must be 9:00 in the morning. No worries. It’ll be over in a half hour.” And, by cracky, it IS!

      Jess

      • I think we can all agree that scientific integrity demands that we ask the hardest questions, and set the highest standards for proof. The only reason this website exists and that many millions of people have been exposed to the Hum by way of the media is that a number of people around here do just that. The tricky ground, where I think I might make a contribution, is judging the reasonableness of self-reported phenomena. I’ve had some fascinating chats with people who I’m sure most mental health professionals would characterize as being ill, and everything else along the way to tinnitus. The only reason we don’t laugh out loud or make fun of self-reported tinnitus is that so many of us have (at least) briefly experienced it, so we tend to believe others who claim to hear it.

        As to the Hum appearing on a schedule, that is certainly a possibility, as long as we agree that the most likely explanation for that is that when the din of civilization picks up in the morning, the Hum is masked. Now, if there is some other type of schedule you are referring to, please remind me what it is. I am studying a generic phenomenon which is louder at night than during the day, and louder indoors than outdoors. If what you hear – and I’m sure both of us believe each other that we say that we hear something – doesn’t fall under that description, then you may be looking for something acoustically anthropogenic, or something completely different medically. Cheers, Glen.

      • Peter says:

        Just a clarification – I didn’t intend to imply hum is “just some kind of tinnitus”. Although it seems to have couple of features in common (internally perceived steady tone of certain frequency), the underlying neural mechanisms may be very different.

        Also what you Jess describe here seems to be perhaps completely different issue, which has hum hearing as one of its several manifestations / symptoms.

      • Jess J says:

        Glen, in reply to your last comment to me: Normally, all sounds are louder at night than during the day, and louder indoors would indicate resonation within the walls, would it not? So I don’t think those two points would positively indicate that we are hearing the same thing. If what you hear is constant, never changing, and you do not notice the volume and intensity of The Hum changing and the obvious times this occurs, then I would suggest you and some others here may be suffering from a medical condition.

        I would also question the validity of only one person (yourself) out of several thousand hearers claiming the D Box does not work in blocking The Hum. One would think many others should try this experiment before throwing it out as useless.

        Jess

      • You have either misinterpreted some things or incorrectly filled in some blanks. The fact that the sound is louder at night has investigative value because it rules out daytime construction noise, and so on. It’s the same logic for indoors versus outdoors. I don’t recall ever saying the Deming Box as useless. Where did you read that?

      • Jess J says:

        Glen wrote: “I am studying a generic phenomenon which is louder at night than during the day, and louder indoors than outdoors.”

        Well, how would *you* interpret your statement? I don’t think I misinterpreted anything. There is nothing really investigative about a noise being louder at night. It’s simple logic, unless one is living in a place like New York City. Living in a quiet area will allow a hearer to hear the hum very loud, at times, during the day as well.

        Glen wrote: “I don’t recall ever saying the Deming Box as useless.”

        Perhaps “useless” was the wrong word to use. Let me clarify. I was under the impression that you had discovered the D Box did not block The Hum for you. I was simply suggesting that perhaps other hearers should really try the experiment to see if they had different outcomes. Hardly conclusive to rely on one person’s findings.

      • I’ll repeat what I wrote about the day-night contrast. There are significant numbers of people who make little effort to track down possible sources of noise complaints. The reason why I include the day-night question on the survey is to easily set aside that set of complaints, which have nothing to do with what I am studying. So in that sense, I find the question highly useful. I think I’ve written enough on that point now. Regarding the Deming Box: again, I don’t recall writing that my experience was conclusive – you seem to want to believe that I said that or think that. I do have serious doubts about the EM theory, however, because there have also been many informal reports of people trying varying methods of EM Faraday cages, without success. Please post back here when you have some evidence of your own, or if you find some serious research that might inform us.

  18. Glen –

    No one would be happier than I if you were able to record/display a signal with the pitch level of the Hum, as an otoacoustic emission. I would love to see what that waveform looks like.]

    That said, we need to consider that any such expected sound may not be nearly as detectable as the correspondingly reported kHz level signals related to ordinary tinnitus, for several reasons.

    Recall that an airborne sound that strikes the eardrum (the outer ear) has to get from there to the liquid-filled cochlea (the inner ear); a severe impedance mismatch at the air/fluid interface (oval window) that would reject most of the signal. Nature’s solution is an impedance matching transformer (the middle ear) which evolution provided by modifying three bones (hammer-anvil-stirrup) from the jaw of a more ancient critter, the mechanism of which is essentially a lever.

    The detection/analysis in the cochlea, as Gold and Pumphrey first demonstrated in 1947 and 1948 (Google), is sharp in frequency by virtue of an active process (regeneration with positive feedback – resonance). If the “hair cells” involved receive too much feedback, like any resonator, they may make their own signal (oscillate). It is thought that not only does this result in a form perceived as tinnitus, but sometimes as actual sound (recordable and perhaps even audible to others) back in the outer ear (ear canal).

    Such a detectable kHz otoacoustic emission, from the inner ear back to the ear canal, depends first of all on the “lever” of the middle ear impedance matching working in reverse (cochlear fluid to air of middle ear to the eardrum as a mini loudspeaker). Secondly, the ear canal significantly favors kHz frequencies as opposed to Hum frequencies of 50-100 Hz. (The canal is an open/closed tube with fundamental mode about 4 kHz.) Thirdly, recording equipment may well be limited on the low-frequency end.

    So that’s the background.

    Now, humor me for the time being and assume the Hum is a low-frequency spontaneous rumbling, originating in the middle ear. [ Such observed phenomenon as the headshake interruption, air-travel days-long interruptions, and stapedius muscle clamping (as AGC) might suggest this.] This internally generated Hum would presumably travel forward more or less normally to the inner ear. Indeed, the Hum is heard, although not very intensely for lucky individuals. Going the other way (out) there is an air/air interface at the eardrum, but no “lever” amplification, and (importantly) no resonance in the ear canal.

    I could be wrong.

    My own crude attempt to display anything coming from my own ears was to simply put on a pair of stereo headphones (the bulky old-style type that looked like ear-protectors) as microphones. Good microphones. Except for blips associated with unintentional motions, I saw nothing different while wearing the phones.

    Bernie

    • Your comments move beyond my current knowledge of the auditory system. But I always have a pragmatic eye on these issues. What I mean is, if the experiment succeeds, then it succeeds. If it fails, then we can eliminate yet another culprit from the list. As for whether it warrants examination in the first instance, I must admit that there are precious few options that are viable given the current budget. So, apart from advocacy and publicity, we aren’t left with much else to do. Every new article in the media brings a few thousand more people into the topic, and I hope that in time, critical mass will force some action on the part of well-funded labs and/or governments. But one never knows, we might just hit the bullseye ourselves. But since you raised the question, can you suggest another experiment that should be conducted first? (For less than $1000?).

      • It would indeed be delightful if you recorded an otoacoustic Hum in the ear canal – a positive result. However, for all the reasons I outlined, I anticipate a negative (or ambiguous) result, which would be consistent with no internal source; OR – – – with an experimental failure to detect a signal that does exist, too low to record (by microphone) back in the ear canal, but still (given the remarkably extreme dynamic range of the ear) it can be heard (by cochlea) going inward.

        To your final point, I can think of no actual experiment that would be better for under $1000, and the answer would be the same if you said $100,000.

        The suggestion I would make is that the resource that is most valuable is not equipment or money, but time. That is, time getting our minds around QUALITY self-reporting from hearers of “The Hum” (traditional). We need to ignore, for the moment at least, those with hums or other noises that don’t fit the emerging common profile of “The Hum”, and those who don’t actually have, or understand, the analytic tools (like pitch matching) necessary to provide reliable data, and of course those spouting total nonsense.

        At this forum we clearly have some very objective observers who have given the matter considerable thought. Also, a number of persons who lack the scientific tools expected have nonetheless made superb factual reports that seem journalistically inspired. Certain features have been adduced that are highly significant and approach the “gotcha” category. Standing around a blackboard, chalk and coffee cup in hand, these things get sorted out. That “ominous ring of truth”. Posted online however, they may well be superseded by a vague “by some unknown mechanism” verbiage and a demand for open minds. At best, these are distractions. Solid proof is difficult most of the time, but strongly supporting and strongly counter-indicating realizations are usually the stuff of actual science.

        I don’t know how to do this: screening for competent input from a small fraction of those who signed in on the data base or even those who have posted comments in the forum. A lot of time and work, and probably some hurt feelings.

        But Glen, it’s your site and I support whatever you do.
        Bernie

    • Peter says:

      Bernie, I think humhearers report it comes from no particular direction, I’d expect it’d be more “directed” if it was physically generated in an ear, so maybe that sufficiently falsifies the hypothesis outlined above. (I did understand you don’t defend it 🙂 ).

      However the headshake interruption is an interesting piece of puzzle – for me it’d indicate hum has distinct internal origin than ‘classical tinnitus’, which doesn’t get interrupted by headshake (at least I believe that…).

      • Peter – on November 2, 2017 at 1:20 AM you said in part: “ . . . I’d expect it’d be more “directed” if it was physically generated in an ear. . . “ .

        Really? To determine that a sound has a particular direction we use both ears and rely on differences in loudness level and differences in arrival times (or phase) at each, particularly as one slowly “scans” one’s head, or move over significant distances toward or away from a distant source. “Locating” a very low pitch (nearly equal instantaneous signals values) constant level sound (arrival time irrelevant) is nearly impossible. I would expect that only if the source were external AND quite local (at most like a generator next door) would one sense a particular direction. No sense of direction is consistent with either an internal source or an external very distant one. [This is more complicated if our ears are not equal in sensitivity (or equal in “Hum” generation!) but we are generally well aware of such imbalances and automatically allow for them. ]

        You also said: “for me it’d indicate hum has distinct internal origin than ‘classical tinnitus’, which doesn’t get interrupted by headshake . . .” .

        My understanding is that high-frequency (kHz) tinnitus is generated in the inner ear while my hypothesis is that the Hum is generated in the middle ear. Neither ordinary sound nor tinnitus would be interrupted by a headshake.

        By the way, Peter, does the headshake interrupt your Hum, carefully considered, as here:
        http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN46.pdf

        and what pitch do you match to? Thanks.

        Bernie

      • Peter says:

        Bernie – re direction: I understood the hypothesis deals with an effect in _an ear_, which wouldn’t be simultaneous and identical in the other ear, thus basically one would perceive it in one side only. Perhaps I misunderstood.

        Re high-frequency tinnitus – I’m not sure there’s consensus where it is in fact generated, but let’s go with what you assume.

        Re my hum – I’m not a “hum sufferer” per se, but I had relevant experience some time ago (which brought me to this site, among other resources). I’ve heard 75 Hz (I think…), initially suspected external source, but couple of simple tests ruled it out (headphones, change of location, headshake, others not hearing anything, the sustained persistency and nature of the tone, etc.). Interestingly, earplugs did cancel it out, but I attributed it to the other “real” bodily sounds which got louder (same can perhaps apply to the headshake).

        This episode happened in very quiet environment and the room where I resided for most of the day absorbed most of the sound (a lot of wood, etc.), what may have contributed was a bit of sleep deprivation and stress. This “hum” persisted for a day or two after I moved to another (very distant) location and returned once or twice since then, then went completely away.

        I have also very faint high-frequency tinnitus (probably loud concerts years ago, I perceive it only in total silence). So I simply attribute this to aging brain and minor neural damages in the sound processing paths which are not yet well understood. It may have been triggered by some external stimulus and/or environment + my “biology”, but after that I’m almost certain all was happening “in my brain” only.

        Coming back to your hypothesis – if it’s implying the hum is reflecting some physical (mechanical) process in middle ear, I’d have my doubts, because it feels unlikely such mechanical process would result in a tone such consistent. Therefore I suspect an issue more downstream in sound processing neural paths. Someone here mentioned the interesting feature of our brains to recreate perception of missing (removed) fundamental frequency of composite tone – areas taking care of such ‘processing’ would be the primary suspects should I be the detective.

        Repairing brain at the level of individual neurons is most likely decades away, so hard to tell when we will be able to really treat this. But I think there’s progress – I’ve glimpsed an article somewhere about a trick that triggers growth of new neurons in cochlea, potentially helping classical tinnitus sufferers.

        Another non-invasive path may be tweaking / tuning the brain by exposing it to carefully composed sounds (another tinnitus treatment being tested I believe).

        To close – the above obviously applies to a subset of “the Hum” as contemplated at this site. Not sure what proportion though.

      • Peter – thanks

        Regarding direction, suppose you hear a hum and are asked the direction of the source. If you get up (go out) and try to find the source, that is one thing. If however you simply USE the sound itself and rely on interaural time differences, phase differences, loudness differences and even spectral differences (due to head shadowing and external ear effects), you either get a significant, usable impression of direction, or you don’t. [For myself, I hear absolutely nothing that suggests a direction.] If you do sense an indication of direction, you stand at a convenient location and rotate slowly. If your impression of direction changes, the source would seem to be internal. [For example, you might have hum in only one ear.] If your impression of direction remains as it originally was, the source would seem to be external. That much seems simple. Let’s suppose that like me, you had no clues of any direction; nothing will prevent you from trying the rotation anyway, just to see if anything seems to change. Probably not. This would seem to suggest the source is internal, or external but omnidirectional.

        Now, your 75 Hz is not unusual. Glen hear 56 and I hear 64, and I think values from 30 to perhaps 140 are reported. What is unusual about yours is that it went away.

        It is hard to suppose why a hum would be so seemingly consistent – perhaps a mild resonance – (although we don’t know anything about the waveshape, which likely has harmonics). My only theory on this, however inchoate, is that it could be an “edge pitch” occurring (50 to 100 Hz) on the low end roll-off, corresponding to the studied edge pitches on the high end (losses to 4 – 6 kHz) sometimes implicated in kHz tinnitus at frequencies associated with the loss edge. [I myself have a Hum at 64 Hz and a sever roll-off slightly below that (by 55 to 60 Hz).

        Keep commenting and asking questions.
        Bernie

      • Peter says:

        Bernie,

        re direction – my comment was intended to test the middle ear emissions hypothesis you outlined at the beginning, otherwise I think we are on the same page.

        But I remember discussing humming noise with a teacher who has sound recording studio at work and one day started hearing a steady sound in it, sometimes interrupted. Then he used a tube to determine the direction / origin of the sound, it took a while, but determined it was a cooling fan of recently installed security camera outside of the building. Episodes like that may account for certain percentage of hum hearers (some of whom may not be so lucky to find the source).

        I wouldn’t be so sure it’s unusual my hum went away – at that time when checking web sources on it I came across an article where the journalist reported similar experience (unfortunately I didn’t archive the link) and in general I find it possible a lot of people experience something like that but don’t feel any urge or motivation to investigate it further, if it doesn’t reoccur – maybe they attribute it to something external and forget about it, or even if it occasionally comes back and isn’t bothering (like in my case), they don’t try to “solve it”, just consider it either something externally generated (most hum hearers suspect assume this first due to the nature of the sound I think), or one of the many tricks the body plays. This population is invisible for community on this site.

        I also expect I’ll hear hum some time again as I attribute it to “normal” slow degeneration of the brain that always comes with age.

      • Peter says:

        Bernie, I have just recalled one interesting observation I had during my “hum hearing episode” – when I tested if it is internal by “closing my ears” (sorry for my English…) / earplugs, I noticed I no longer hear the hum when one of the ears (the right I think) was blocked rather than the other one. Head position / direction did not play a role. As I don’t hear the hum since then, I can’t try to replicate it to find out more, but maybe you can try – what you described corresponds to my hum experience well. If it’s also your case, maybe it indicates the inner origin of the hum better (e.g. not as downstream as I expected).

  19. George G. says:

    By coupling a stethoscope to a microphone and high gain amplifier, I tried to replicate Bernie’s experiment.

    The powerful spring of the stethoscope ensured that the ear plugs were forced well into my ears.

    The experiments were conducted when the Hum was at a very high level.

    Apart from the “blips” Bernie experienced, I was able to record the deep rumble of my breathing (through my ears—how about that?) as well as scratching noise which I assumed to be skin/earplug friction.

    The Hum, however, was not present in any of the recordings.

    The instrument is still intact, and I am happy to donate it to the forum.

  20. Jetstream Steve says:

    Good day. I live in the northeast of Scotland and have been mildly agitated by a hum for some years in my house and mainly during winter when it’s more difficult to escape. Mostly I had put it down to vibration in the central heating pipes, but gradually eliminated heating, the fridge and the boiler and stove chimneys and started looking for tractors etc nearby.
    I had some time off work in late September and became conscious that I was hearing the hum more prominently than before. I can hear it now when the TV is on, in most other buildings, and when it is strong I am conscious of it all night when sleeping. I can hear it outside, although it is much fainter. If I drive 20 miles and park up away from habitation, pylons and windfarms I can hear it in the car, and again faintly, with the windows down.
    In order to try and figure whether the weather conditions were having a bearing on the situation I began to research climate conditions and started paying attention to the Jetstream as it affects us in Scotland. There are some good online tutorials. Some of the more salient points regarding the jetstream ; Each hemisphere has its own polar jetstream which is established more strongly in that hemisphere’s winter when the cooling effect during darkness creates a greater pressure gradient ; Further there is a sub tropical jetstream which can establish further south and I am not following but nevertheless may cause a similar phenomenon. The polar jet stream forms at the juncture between the Farrell and Polar weather cells and just below the stratosphere.
    Generally the stream is wide and flat, frequently undulating in the horizontal plain. Sometimes it breaks and reattaches, or attaches itself to another piece of stream. If you look at http://www.netweather.tv there is a great graphic although I tend not to pay attention to anything more than 48hours in advance.
    So for the last 4 weeks I have been making hum observations, subjectively, and then checking the netweather forecast. Generally there has been a strong hum. 2 weeks ago the hum all but disappeared for 2 days. During this time the jet stream had looped west and south of the UK, probably about 200miles away. On another occasion last week the jet stream had wandered north and east of the UK and although silence was not observed the hum was much fainter.
    I also came across this website whilst looking into low frequency annoying noise. One of the things I picked up on was some of the frequency discussion. I find the hum to be roughly an octave below the bottom D on the piano. Sometimes it drops to Dflat, sometimes it picks up towards Dsharp. This is around 17 to 18Hz. The Frequency generator referred to with the square wave a couple of days ago is brilliant. Using the decimal points I can get it to reproduce exactly the frequency I m hearing.
    Some other thoughts and observations.
    1.The jetstream is 5 to 8 miles above us. It’s not far. Even on a day of poor visiblity one can see that far across the land. Low frequency vibrations can travel huge distances.
    2. Pilots speak of encountering significant turbulence when flying in or through the jetstream.
    3.In the parts where I live jets zip about in the lower atmosphere. As they accelerate through different frequencies this creates interference with the background hum.breaks up the note for a few seconds when the plane noise is close to a sympathetic frequency to the hum.
    4. Consider the jetstream as a river. If it is flowing rapidly there is turbulence and you can hear it. In places where it is deeper/wider and no turbulence you don’t hear anything.
    5.Consider the waves on the sea. They move along quietly. Then break on the shore.Then you hear them.
    6.Buildings experience the waves breaking all around. It sets up a resonance in the building.
    7.Certain people within the building are sensitive to the resonance. Generally they hear it. However the sense perception may be wider than hearing. I am conscious of feeling the vibration in my thorax as well as hearing it.
    8. When the jetstream is strong its like a lorry going up a slight incline without losing speed but you feel the constant power. Generally the frequency is slightly higher. D sharp.
    9 When the jetstream is getting weaker the strong note alternates with a weak note. the duration of the weak note is relatively short. The strong note is of varying length but it gets progressively longer then shorter, then longer again. A bit like a sequence of traffic springs along a road.But its like being alongside a lorry on a level road where the power is going on and off on a cruise control
    10.Sometimes the weak note is very weak and splutters for a few seconds. The frequency of the strong note will be dropping. D flat.

    Anyway I pretty much believe I’ve found the cause of what I’m hearing.
    It might be useful if anyone can compare their observations with whats happening on a jet stream near them. I’m off to Tenerife soon and hoping for silence when I get there.
    If I’m right the outlook isn’t good for sufferers. Probably have to move country.
    I am hopeful that by removing energy blocks in my body that instead of resisting the noise, I can let the vibrations energise my body and live in harmony with the hum.

    Cheers for now

    Steve

    • Peter says:

      Steve, are you sure about the Hz? 17 / 18 Hz is so low people barely register it. Note D (even an octave lower) has much higher frequency.

      If you really hear such infrasound, it may be different to what seems to be “the usual hum”, at least from my limited review of comments on this site.

      Anyway – re jetstream hypothesis: I see a lot of people here are looking for an external continuous cause of their hum perception and it may be psychologically comforting if they find one (which is understandable), so if that’s the case, ignore my comment below.

      To test the hypothesis further, I’d suggest you focus on observations that may disprove it (if it doesn’t hold). The feeling I have from your text is that you were focusing on facts that only confirm it.

      I’m not saying your hypothesis is false, but based on my physics intuitions, the explanation of the mechanism how it all would work doesn’t sound very sound yet.

    • Steve – you said: “. . . The Frequency generator referred to with the square wave. . .”

      An 18 Hz square wave has 36 transitions per second, and would be heard as a pitch of 36 Hz. (Compare to the saw which has one sharp transition/cycle instead of two.) That amount to a 2:1 error, and there may be other errors if you are matching, perhaps, to a harmonic.

      Bernie

  21. Jetstream Steve says:

    2 Nov 8am. The hum this morning is intermittent with some fair short bursts of hum and longer periods of quiet. Netweather shows the jetstream moving out across the North Sea. Consistent with my previous observations. Looks like hum will return in strength later this evening as jetstream moves closer from Iceland.

  22. Jetstream Steve says:

    Friday 8am. The hum is faint this morning. Netweather shows the jetstream north west of UK and heading northeasterly.

  23. Jetstream Steve says:

    Thanks for reply chaps. I’m gauging the sound I hear against my electric piano.To be honest the hum sounds more like 73Hz two octaves higher than what I said. However everyone can hear the piano so I presumed I am hearing a fundamental which is below the range of others, as suggested elsewhere on this blog.
    What I am definitely experiencing are changes to what I hear which appear to relate to the location and intensity of the jetstream.

    • Peter says:

      Hi Steve, I’d suggest the following experiment design in case you want to rule out any indirect distortions and biases:

      1. Firstly, record your hum perception on regular basis without any knowledge of current jestream / wind / metheorological situation (i.e. no exposure even to forecasts in previous days, etc.)

      2. Do it in as precise as possible manner – e.g. numeric scale for each parameter rather than free form wording.

      3. Teach someone else how you evaluate the jetstream data and its possible effect on your hum. Make sure they do not have any contact with you when they evaluate current jetstream situation. Alternatively, someone can record it for you for some time and then present it to you for evaluation in a way preventing any bias, e.g. in random order, without date indications, with sufficient quantity, etc. The evaluation should be also ‘precise’, i.e. each parameter on scale of numbers that you can work with.

      4. If you gather statistically relevant amount of data according to 1-3 (it depends, but intuitively I’d say 50+ data points, i.e. 2.5 months of observations), you can correlate both data groups and determine, whether both phenomena correlate well or there’s another association. I expect you’ll do it initially ‘manually’ – in such case make sure you fairly compare all data and focus both on matches and mismatches. Then, there are statistical tools that determine correlation and significance mathematically – that’d be the final step in case you’ll feel confident about the link after initial manual examination.

      • Peter says:

        (sent before finished, so…)

        5. As a bonus, you can perform step 4 against “control” dataset, e.g. random permutation of days of meteo observations, possibly from completely different location across the globe. Then you can compare correlation in real vs. control data set to determine how significant it is.

        This all is to rule out any unintended influences or biases. Even the best scientists are prone to it, that’s why good science is done in a similar way.

  24. Here is a useful (and fun) experiment many can easily do.

    It is well established that microwaves (say 900 MHz) are blocked by even thin aluminum foil. I found that 530 kHz AM was blocked by my steel equipment cabinet which has huge air vents. No doubt Glen’s much more robust Deming-box would easily block both of these. Continuing downward – what about 60 kHz? If you had a 60 kHz receiver and a D-Box, you could do the experiment.

    Odds are you have a 60 kHz receiver! Your radio-controlled clock or “Atomic Clock” which is maintained by a radio signal out of WWVB in Boulder, Colorado. You don’t likely have a D-Box, but do have metal things like bread boxes, tool-boxes, garbage cans. If these pretender D-Boxes work, Glen’s would also have to work. Lots of possibilities. But how do you know if the clock receiver is getting a signal?

    Well, my clock (an old La Crosse) tries to receive Boulder when new batteries are installed, OR updates every night at midnight. That is, when the CLOCK thinks it’s midnight. Thus if you manually set it to 11:58 PM, two minutes later it starts to look for Boulder. Normally mine takes a 10 minute search, and probably only finds WWVB about 70% of the time, and works best at night. So 15 minutes after setting it to just before midnight, you have a result – it reset to the correct time, or it did not.

    Statistically, you might try (at your leisure) the clock outside the blocking device a dozen times, and alternate inside a dozen times. If you found it correctly reset mostly (say 70%) outside, but never (NEVER!) inside, this would likely be significant, as would be even one reset inside the pretender D-Box.

    Bernie
    hutchins@ece.cornell.edu

    • I have completed a series of test runs following up on the experiment I suggested above. My “pretender” D-Box was a metal garbage can. My radio-clock was placed inside on a cardboard box which held the clock near center of the can. The “control” had the clock outside the can on a similar box four feet away. The tests were all run over a period of 12 days between 11:45PM and 1:30AM in my cellar labspace.

      The clear result was that the garbage can blocked the 60 kHz radio from WWVB in Colorado, which I suspected was weak in NY, based on the fact that it sometimes fails without any intentional blocking. There were a total of 26 trials. This included 10 trials where the clock failed to reset inside the can but did reset (10 more trials) when retried immediately afterward outside the can. With two trials, the clock likewise failed to reset in the can, but also failed immediately thereafter outside the can (so it would have been unfair to suppose that it could have been reset inside at that time). In these two cases, the clock had properly reset by morning – apparently it tries hourly until 6AM. The unshielded failure rate (2 in 12) is consistent with the general behavior – some nights it just does not work at all.

      So that’s 24 trials, and I said I did 26. On the fourth night, I was shocked to find that the shielded clock had reset! This seemed to spoil my whole thesis – I had already said one reset would be enough to do that. I searched for some excuse. I thought it possible that I had not put the lid on tightly – having become lazy – and that seemed conceivable. So I immediately tried I again, leaving a gap of 1/8 inch on one side. This was enough – it reset. Then I put the lid on tight, and it did not reset. On the remaining eight nights, with the lid on tight, no resets were achieved. This fact that apparently the RF can get in through a very slim gap was an unexpected, possibly significant result.

      But the main result is that this garbage can blocked 60 kHz. Considering a simple low-pass filter model for the blocking, if RF is entering a garbage can (or a proper D-Box) it would have to have a frequency well below 60 kHz.

      Anyone else try this?
      Bernie

      • A great informal experiment.

      • George G. says:

        This experiment indicates the decision to purchase and fit a high quality RF seal around the D Box hatch was correct.

        Good work, both of you.

      • George – exactly so. I thought the same. But — why?

        My thought, (based on my great distance from Colorado, the fact that even the unblocked reset frequently fails, and that a successful reset takes about 10 minutes) was the the signal quality outside was marginal. How did such a supposed weak signal find it’s way through a crack?

        I did find, with my 530 kHz AM radio experiments, that proximity to metal structures sometimes blocked and sometimes amplified the signal. Does the whole can become an antenna, much larger than the loopstick in the clock, when there is a gap?

        Any ideas?

        Bernie

  25. Jetstream Steve says:

    Peter. Thanks for your suggestion about keeping the observations separate from checking the jetstream forecast. Which I will do. I’ll probably have to promise not to mention the hum for a while afterwards!

    Anyway I have 2 more observations.
    First the hum is louder when the jetstream is flowing counter to the weather system below. Again this could be brought into the independent study.
    Secondly. Tuesday 7th was a quiet day for the hum. My experience of it was short bursts of resonance which would be around the 73Hz. Between these, I had previously described as spluttering. However the spluttering is actually more regular. I sensed it more as a fast ticking, the pulses being almost possible of being counted but matching up similarly to between 17.5Hz and 18Hz. Using frequency generator. This was not like a hum or a musical note. Anyway I had sufficient exposure to changing back and forth to the hum to give me the belief that my hearing and related perception is converting the trigger frequency to a more audible and resonant note. So now I think in my head creates the hum, and there is an external low frequency input which when it reaches sufficient strength switches on the hum.
    I’ll spend some time gathering data and get back. Although I’m struggling to find the open blog from the home page on this site. Cheers Steve

  26. Henrik says:

    I found some very fresh research on human hearing the other day. It says that our auditory processing is not continuous, but takes place in bursts, which could be likened to some kind of “strobing” or sampling detection mechanism. The peak sensitivity switches from one ear to another around 6 times per second, while the interpretation of what we hear switches between the ears around 8 times per second. From these two signals the brain identifies what we hear and the direction from where it is coming.

    If we now follow the hypothesis that the otoacoustic Hum is a kind of low-frequency tinnitus, as already mentioned by Bernie, who has a sharp roll-off just below his Hum frequency, the numbers above could possibly account for the “diesel sound” so many people report. 8Hz – 6Hz = 2Hz, which is more or less the “modulation” reported. I am not capable of doing the stringent analysis of exactly how this would fit into otoacoustic Hum generation, but here are the relevant links if someone wants to go deeper:

    http://www.sciencealert.com/brain-processes-sound-in-oscillating-flickering-waves

    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)31320-9

    https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/like-the-flicker-of-an-old-silent-movie-our-brain-processes-what-we-hear-in-waves

    • Hi Henrik –

      Thanks for the lead. It is worth considering an oscillating priority being given to alternating ears, which would be an instance of periodic gated (or windowed) sampling. This could involve an amplitude modulation viewpoint (cross-fading), subjective beating, or that sort of thing. My thought however is that the modulation as heard in the Hum is too random and perhaps significantly governed by involuntary muscular motions (partial interruptions). I hear no strong periodicity in the envelope.

      The Ho et al paper (your middle link) is a very tough read (jargon, unlabeled graph axes, and a general failure to explain what , how, and why). [Plus you have to look for the PDF which is not on my library gateway yet. I had to dig.] They seem to have a pitch matching experiment with not just a correct choice, but response time is important. The data (whatever they represent – sensitivity, criterion, decision. detection?)) are very noisy and yet they try to fit a sinusoid calling it a Fourier series. I remain LOST and thus, of necessity, unconvinced. Were you more successful?

      Bernie

      • Henrik says:

        Bernie: I also took note that some information was quite inaccurate and speculative, like the quip, that 1/6th of a second also happens to be the average time the brain needs for “decision making”. I know no other measure of “decision making” than reaction time, and that varies a lot between individuals, so I would not give much weight to that coincidence. Also, if the “ears take turns” at “about six cycles per second”, it is not clear whether the direction changes six times in a second – in which case the frequency is 3Hz and not 6Hz – or whether the word “cycles” refer to one full left-right-left cycle. Maybe this would be clear from the full PDF file, which I could not access.

        Since the workings of neural networks fall way outside my competency, I cannot draw any conclusions of my own here, but I wanted to provide the links in case someone wants to pursue this hypothesis and its possible connection with the otoacoustic Hum. I see this write-up as just another straw in the haystack from which we try to find the proverbial needle…

  27. George G. says:

    Bernie,

    An interesting case.

    Your garbage can antenna is one of many designs throughout the history of radio. When the lid is slightly open, some may call it an “Inverted L” antenna.

    I see it as a reflector, where the gap between the lid and body forms the aperture. To help you visualise, think of the gap length, rather than the gap height.

    The problem I see with my explanation is wavelength, of course. This I’m sure concerns you also. I am not an expert here, hopefully some of the radio engineers out there can help out?

    Some experiments; try facing the “aperture” in different direction, try earthing the can alternatively and note any change, etc.

    The above may sound far fetched, but volumes have been written on radio wave propagation, antenna designs included. Some of the best designs started just like yours.

    Either way, welcome to the wide, exciting and often frustrating world of radio wave propagation.

  28. Dr. Peter Rawbone says:

    It was great to read this site, as a hum surfer. Extending the hum map, it would be a good idea to have a database where people could record when as well as where the hum is perceived. If times (and locations) are found to match then that’ll establish that an external factor is involved.

    I haven’t measured but I think my hum is around 50hz, worse in cold weather, and most prominent in left ear. I still think it’s external as ear plugs and ear isolator muffs help. I have a hypothesis that the hum causes high pitched tinnitus but most people only hear the high tinnitus which is rife across society.

    Thanks for maintaining this important site. A proper discussion forum might be a good idea with seperate topic threads for discusssion.

    • Thanks Peter –

      A problem with recording WHEN is probably that the answer is “ALWAYS” (at least with “THE HUM”). We notice it when masking sounds stop. People claiming something like “always on the hour” often append something like “but sometimes on the half hour and sometimes at ten-to the hour”.

      You said “a hypothesis that the hum causes high pitched tinnitus”. Any notion of a mechanism or any evidence for this?

      Bernie

      • Jess J says:

        Bernie: I’m curious as to your evidence proving that the hum you hear is ALWAYS there when masking sounds stop, and also your evidence proving that there is NO fluctuation in volume, intensity, etc., at certain times of the day or night.

      • Jess –

        MY Hum is always there if the environment is passively quiet enough (as at 3AM in the night), or if it is possible to actively make it quieter (turning off the heater), and if I am not otherwise distracted and stop and ask myself if it is there (actively asking if it is THERE). I have never found it to be gone when conditions were still enough.

        At times, the apparent loudness varies – like from night to night, and perhaps from season to season, and perhaps with the length of time it has been quiet. (It also always manifests a seemingly random shallow amplitude modulation on the scale of a second or two.) But all these variations do not even approach full starts/stops, let alone do anything on a regular (periodic) schedule.

        That’s what I experience, and I believe others report similar. You may be hearing a different phenomenon.

        Bernie

      • Jess J says:

        Bernie: “That’s what I experience, and I believe others report similar.”
        How many others?
        Bernie: “You may be hearing a different phenomenon.”
        Like you, I’m under the impression I’m hearing the Hum, but there is no proof either way so there’s not much point in making that assumption.
        Do you reside in a noisy city, i.e. traffic noise at night?

      • Yes I did, thank you. As always, my To Do list grows by the week. Usually, the only time I can spend more than 10 minutes on the Hum is during weekends. I’ll be doing another extended stretch of Hum work soon, and I’m looking at the following:

        1. Hum Map entry surveys in Dutch, German, and Russian.
        2. Replying to correspondence.
        3. Open letter to Russian Science Ministry (in Russian).
        4. Your open letter.
        5. Re-entering the Deming Box with electronic detection equipment.

        I tell people, “I always keep my promises – just not always on time”. 🙂

        I really appreciate those of you who have stayed with the project and have kept some momentum going. A vast number of people are relying on a small number of us to get an answer.

      • Jess –

        I don’t know how many others experience what I do, but you can look at this site and judge. VERY roughly, I guess half the people hear the Hum, and half something else. On both sides, not everyone has evaluated the phenomenon (or knows how to do the tests) equally well. Some outstanding report are here – by the way.

        In that regard, let me ask you two baseline questions: (1) What pitch does your hum match to? (2) Does your hum interrupt with a head shake? http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN41.pdf

        Bernie

      • Pete says:

        Thanks for your response. I live in a very quiet area and I’ve noticed that the hum is present perhaps 90% of the time. Sometimes it is perfectly silent. It changes volume and can change pitch (slightly, but still in very low freq range). There is also an oscillating pattern to it, recurring perhaps over half a second.

        As for evidence for the high pitched tinnitus as an effect of the hum, only anecdotal I’m afraid: When I hear the hum, I feel my ears begin to feel tired and the high pitched ringing follows at some point thereafter. This is a recurring pattern I’ve experienced.

        Expanding from this, it’s possible that the hum we all share in experiencing — if we can be granted the assumption that we’re all in the same boat in some form — is in fact wholly a perceptive interpretation, but there may be an external trigger. That is, there could be some underlying inaudible waveform, not the hum, that triggers through the hearing system the perception of the hum.

        If there is a universal underlying inaudible environmental trigger then each of our brains could be interpreting it differently. This trigger could take many forms, but I feel it must be something mostly omnipresent or regular, and require a neuronal or hearing apparatus that is disturbed by it (most people don’t sense it).

        This is all just my speculation of course!

    • Peter says:

      I find it interesting that ear plugs help (assuming the hum is most likely internally generated). For those of you here that do hear hum – this may be a low hanging fruit experiment that can shed a lot of light: do earplugs stop your hum perception and how/when exactly (when testing under variety of conditions)? My hypothesis was that earplugs just create masking noise that cancels out hum, but I have no way to test it myself.

  29. Benoit says:

    Hello Glen, Hello Bernie, Hello everyone,

    After two months I come back to you stronger results of new experiences on the HUM.

    Note: All the experiments were carried out with a construction-site helmet to reproduce everywhere the listening of a bedroom at night.

    Experience 1:
    In early September, a friend advised me to go to Harre in Belgium where a place is considered to be the quietest in the country. There is a chapel and a forest located on a plateau at altitude far from populated and industrialized cities.
    Arrived on the spot, no Hum around the chapel and no Hum in the forest, an incredible calm.
    Intrigued by this phenomenon I decided to advance in the forest a little further to test the limits of the zone of calm.
    As I begin to descend a small valley deep and narrow, the Hum is heard, the more I went down, the more he was strong and arrived down near a river it decreased slightly. I then made the way in the opposite direction, the HUM increased and then returned in the flat part of the forest he disappeared, almost completely. I could not hear a beat and it was close to the 50 Hz on the tone generator. My wife had the same observation.
    Strange because no high voltage line and no rotating machine less than 20000m. Can be a pump hidden in the ground for water collection? …

    Experience 2:
    10 days later, one night, I could see the Hum in my room. When I woke up, my neck was very tense and suddenly various sensitivities increased, light, hearing, sight and I was then seized with a powerful headache.
    Rather than taking an anti-pain, I decided to go to Harre, near the chapel to see if I heard the HUM with this strong pressure in the neck.
    Finding: he was everywhere but slightly weaker than my home, so I hear the HUM everywhere!
    There I began to understand that hum is an internal phenomenon.

    Experience 3:
    Still in Harre, I decided to run very fast for 500m and to stop, I noticed then that the volume of Hum went up and down at the same time that my heart was pumping.

    For me, no doubt, the HUM is an internal phenomenon.
     
    I then took 2 caffeinated aspirin and 30 minutes later, more headache and practically more HUM!
    On the way home, I was very relaxed and returned home, the HUM comes back stronger.

    Experience 4:
    When the HUM is strong, my tinnitus is strong.
    I went to my Osteopath who reported me a strong tension and stiffness in the neck. After putting his fingers in my neck a few minutes, suddenly exerting pressure at a specific place, he doubles the volume of acute tinnitus! I tell him my feelings, he massages this area for 20 minutes and more tinnitus.
    I get in my car, no more HUM! An hour later, I come home, tinnitus and HUM come back.

    First conclusion of these experiments: The HUM is well internal and caused by a pressure of the organs between the cervical and the brainstem. Like a sound of blood pressure in a reduced artery such as noise created by a crease in a garden hose or too much pressure in a small diameter pipe.

    What is this inaudible phenomenon that creates this pressure?

    After a few days of reflection I remembered that the RION NL-62 sound level meter recorded measurements in 60 points of my region, but also soundtracks. I decided to connect the Mac book pro on home theater consisting of 4 woofers of extreme low through an additional preamp.
    After listening to each band I selected two high-volume emit very low frequencies, it is a 20-year-old HVAC group located at 1200m from my home (84db at 4 Hz) and a generator. high power located at 3500m (74db at 4 Hz). Strange that not far from these two sources of noise my heart rate increases.

    After much thought, I said to myself, if I manage to separate myself from the HUM far from my home by being relaxed, I will be able to determine a perimeter “contaminated by the variation of pressure”.

    Experience 5:
    I go to EST at 5000m from my home where I hear the HUM. There I try to relax and after 5 minutes Hum disappeared. I come back with a stop every 500m and 3000m from my home, he comes back.
    Then I go to the WEST and try the same experience. I can leave the HUM after 5500m. In the SOUTH 5000m, NORTH 2000m.

    Conclusion of these experiments:

    1 ° The HUM is internal and caused by a pressure caused by an inaudible external phenomenon.

    2 ° In some cases this phenomenon increases the sensitivity to odors (strong smell = sore sinus = headache or migraine). It also increases the sensitivity of the sight (strong white light clouds = headache or migraine). It also increases the sensitivity of hearing (all sounds are amplified = headache or migraine).

    3 ° The reason why all people who hear HUM give a different beat is that each person gives the frequency of the nearby machine whose range of low frequencies has been increased by the phenomenon. Away from industries and cities populated the HUM is continuous without beat and it is possible for some to part with it.

    4 ° The reason why people hear HUM everywhere is that the nervous tension at the neck is “memorized”

    Important notes:
    -My woman feels the same symptoms at the same time except that sometimes she does not know how to part with it.
    -Several inhabitants of my village have the same symptoms of increased sensitivities sometimes followed by headaches with tense necks.
    -Some of my neighbors and I have consulted ENT, cardiologists, neurologists, physiotherapists … Their conclusion to all: It is a stress, we do not know what causes it.
    For my part, the magnetic resonance detected cervical narrowing of the spinal canal to the left 8mm and to the right of 8.5mm.

    The following video link demonstrates the thickening of certain vascular ducts due to stress caused by infrasound:

    Cordially,

    Benoit.

  30. Henrik says:

    The signature “nukeya” posted some comments on Nov 22, 2017 relating to a very old thread from 2016. Maybe it would be better to continue here in Open Forum to keep it in focus.

    If a hum abruptly disappears when you open a window even a little, it is clear that what you hear is an environmental/physical sound, amplified by a room resonance. That is not the internal (otoacoustic), or “real”, Hum. The fact that it disappears when opening a window even just a little would indicate that the resonance is a Helmholtz resonance, and not a standing-wave phenomenon caused by the room dimensions through reflexions.

    Earlier (2016) you described that your observation was related to adding insulation and double-glass windows. This fits the Helmholtz resonance theory. You actually increased the Q-value of the resonating space, which amplified the sound more than before. That type of Hum can be traced with sensitive audio recording/measurement equipment with very low cut-off frequency (around 1 Hz), and by disabling any weighting filters. The microphone must be electret or condenser type to stop electromagnetic fields from showing up as audio.

    • Henrik –

      It seems to me that it could not be a Helmholtz resonator until a window, initially closed, starts to open. And, is your proposed source inside the closed house? Does the HR let the sound out?

      I think that if the Hum disappears when you crack open a window it is because the window lets in distracting outside environmental noise. Recall the incredible dynamic range of loudness – even small signals matter. It should certainly mean, at least, that the Hum is not an acoustical sound coming from OUTSIDE.

      Room (closed volume) resonances are easy to ESTIMATE (eigenfunctions) based on dimensions. They can be easily displayed on a scope using a low-frequency microphone and amplifier; employing a good sharp foot-stomp as excitation. Such resonances are of low-Q (say Q~1, because of rugs, curtains, etc.) and would evidently change with different rooms.

      Helmholtz resonators (a room with a hole in it – like a partially open window) would have a resonant frequency that varies (increases) as the area of the opening increases. At the same time, as the opening increases, the Q degrades rapidly. (A soda bottle is an excellent HR, a cereal bowl a poor one.) Famously the annoying “wind thump” of a moving car with one rear window cracked open disappears if the window is opened further.

      Of course, acoustical resonances of any type are irrelevant until such time as someone displays/records a version of the Hum as a physical vibration.

      – Bernie

      • Henrik says:

        Bernie,

        In my textbook a Helmholtz resonator is a closed space of any shape, with a “neck” of certain dimensions (cross section and length), not a “room with a hole”. The resonance is generated as pressure waves, not as stationary standing waves between reflecting surfaces. That means anyone inside the space will hear it. This typically happens in buildings, which have mechanical ventilation, which includes air ducts between the room(s) and the outside air. If we then open a window in the room, this will short-circuit the air duct, i.e. provide an outlet with much less resistance and length, which will kill the Helmholtz phenomenon.

        The actual noise source must be outside the house for this to happen. So we should be looking for a mechanical noise source outside. This is not the “real Hum” we are looking for, but I think we agree that many of the reported Hum observations actually refer to environmental noise sources, which are either strong enough to be heard, or which are amplified by room resonances, either through reflections or through a Helmholtz resonance mechanism. In my opinion this hypothesis fits neatly into the case “nukeya” described. The added insulation made the room more airtight, and this strengthens the resonance.

        I agree that wall materials, furniture, carpets etc. will dampen the Q-value of the resonances, whether they happen by standing waves (as in a recording studio room), or through a Helmholtz resonance. Therefore the phenomenon should have been stronger before the house was furnished after the renovation.

      • Henrik –

        We pretty much agree. Except I disagree (1) that the source excitation has to be outside, (2) that the insulation matters, or (3) whether or not the open window can be the “neck”. It is further true that a Helmholtz Resonance (HR) is not robust – it takes some practice to blow across the bottleneck exactly right. It’s generally NOT operative.

        Let me comment on and amplify what you already said. My understanding of the HR was previously posted here, and my link is
        :
        http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN128A.PDF

        It is important to note that the HR can be “passive” (holding the open neck of a soda bottle NEAR the ear and just listening) or “active” (or “driven” – as in blowing across the opening – a DC energy source – a self-sustaining oscillator). Such oscillation modes may not be generally considered standing-waves (as we would have in a flute or trumpet – “pips” of air input to make up for frictional damping, like a child on a swing). But a self-regulating decrement-replacement by a resonance-controlled excitation is similar if not identical. [For example, lips across the mouthpiece of a trumpet open synchronously and let in pips of air each time a time-peak in the standing wave coaxes them to open (at a normally closed end). Likewise, blowing across (slightly into) a flute “embouchure hole” with a steady stream (DC) regulates the periodic pulses into a pipe.] The passive and driven phenomena are different: the first being a transient response and the other a steady-state response. [The pitches/timbres may even be noticeably different (a plucked string vs. a bowed string, for example).]

        None of us can crawl into the interior or a soda bottle HR. Many are familiar however with being inside a moving car with a back window slightly cracked open and being subject to “wind thump”. Roughly estimating from equation 1 of my note above, I get 8 Hz for that oscillation, remarkably in agreement with observations. A similar calculation with a room with a slightly open window gives 1 Hz.

        Both these are sub-audio and well below room resonances; – although they may be upsetting. Passively, a “source” of 8 Hz (car) or of 1 Hz (room) would be required to establish a significant build-up. An unlikely matching. Actively even a constant air-flow (DC – “power supply”) stream over the hole could result in a self-sustained oscillation.

        As suggested, the HR notions apply to a physical audio, not otoacoustic possibilities. Further, the HR cases of the person being inside the resonator are of frequencies that are necessarily well below those of “The Hum”. Happily, these sorts of annoyances likely have remedies (open a window – or other “neck” – further, or close it completely) over which we have control.

        – Bernie

  31. Henrik says:

    Bernie,

    I agree that the frequencies amplified by a room and a ventilation duct would be very low, unless we talk about for example a small kitchen with a short stove-hood ventilator tube direct to the outside air.

    In response to your item (2) above, what I meant was, that when we add insulation, there is usually both a moisture barrier and a hard surface panel on the inside of the insulation. These will make the rom more air-tight, and therefore produce a better Helmholtz resonator.

    Maybe we can leave this side track, and dig into the real Hum and its causes. I am now doing some research on the hypothesis that what we call The Hum is a form of low-frequency Tinnitus. It is quite well established that the high-frequency continuous tinnitus is somehow related to the upper cut-off slope of the individual’s hearing range, and is possibly a compensatory “AGC” overreaction leading to oscillation. It is a tempting possibility that there could be a similar compensatory phenomenon at the lower slope in certain individuals. But there seeems to be very little research material on these matters.

    • Henrik –

      I previously related an example of a REAL vibration that fooled me. It was similar to the Hum; something like a fan at the golf course across the street, apparently enhanced by a very localized room resonance, but subsequently located by stepping outdoors. See page 4 of:

      http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN51.pdf

      * * * * * *

      I suggested the idea of an “edge pitch” on the low end of the hearing curve about a year ago.

      http://electronotes.netfirms.com/ENWN45.pdf

      Unfortunately, while it fits my case perfectly, no one else has reported back.

      – Bernie

    • Peter says:

      Henrik et al, re comparing hum as low-frequency quasi-tinnitus to “classical tinnitus”, let me share couple of quick brainstorming ideas:

      * I think it’s worth focusing on differences between the symptoms of both

      * Specifically, it may be the case HF tinnitus originates in/close to cochlea as it produces persistent, sustained sound at certain HF – this is just my intuition, did not do a deep dive – which can be overlaid by louder sounds, but doesn’t really go away

      * On the other hand, hum can be apparently interrupted (headshake?), or cancelled out (ceases when perceiving sounds with similar freq?) – it’d be good to see summary of such tests/experiments from hum hearers

      * Therefore, rather than cochlea and its neighborhood, I’d suspect primary/secondary/tertiary auditory cortex

      * However, the above point may not be in line with something I’ve noticed in comments – earplugs cancelling hum (also my experience from the occasion I believe was internally generated hum, but I no longer hear it, so can’t replicate)

      * Another reason I’d focus more on deeper levels of auditory cascade is phenomena like filling in missing fundamental frequency by the brain (also mentioned somewhere among the comments), which most likely happens in cortex

      * To my knowledge, neural pathways between ear apparatus and the cortex are still terra incognita so something relevant may be happening also there

      * Also intuitively – I’d suspect our ability to insulate our homes from environmental sounds very well (not sure our ancestors were able to do it this well) and induce almost complete silence to play some role, maybe it triggers some neural positive feedback loop in a brain area after it went through some wear and tear (brain aging); prolonged exposure to “almost-silence” may not be natural / expected auditory input for our brains ; this is also something which can be statistically tested with hum hearers

      I know some/all of these ideas may have been already discussed here, I just don’t have bandwidth to read all posts.

  32. George G. says:

    A recent report of bed-shaking/vibrating and associated sensations may initiate a resurgence of trying to link these sensations to the Hum.

    This may cause an unwanted distraction,If we consider that the majority of hum hearers do not experience such events.

    Through Open Forum, I appeal to those who are afflicted with the above sensations to research sleep disorders. Specifically, hypnagogic and hypnapompic hallucinations.

    These sleep disorders are not unusual. they can, however, be very frightening, especially if one has a vivid imagination (myself)
    And if one is also afflicted by the Hum,(myself again) then the stage is set—– you may experience a loud hum during your lucid dream, and unless you are familiar with the sleep disorders named above, you will most likely think the Hum has initiated the vibrations.

    If you experience such sensations, do not be afraid or fear you may be losing your mind. These sensations are not unusual, just under-reported.

    Anxiety and daily stress are often implicated as triggers, as well as incorrect medications, substance abuse, etc. ( by substance abuse I include coffee, nicotine and booze)

    Conclusions:

    The Hum cannot shake beds. It has not sufficient energy to do so.

    If you experience hypnagogic hallucinations and are a Hum sufferer, a humming noise may form part of your lucid dream. This is normal.

    My message to those who experience such events;

    Don’t be afraid, you are not losing your mind.Research the subject, and if it gets worse have a chat with your doctor.

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