Home » Uncategorized » Finally, a well-researched and balanced mainstream article on the Worldwide Hum.

Finally, a well-researched and balanced mainstream article on the Worldwide Hum.

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

Philip Jaekl has penned an excellent article for the Guardian on the Worldwide Hum. Not everyone will agree with every aspect of it, but we’ve been waiting for a piece like this one for quite a while. If you have reached out to me by email, please be patient. And note that very soon I’ll be overseas for several weeks, and I won’t be able to answer inquiries.



  1. Melissa Padgett says:

    How gratifying, for you who have done so much to research and explore this topic as well as enlighten the skeptical, and for the rest of us who CONTINUE to suffer from this phenomenon. Going on 6 years for me now, I’ve adjusted, made adjustments so I don’t kill myself, and come to live relatively normally.Still this relatively balanced report gives me hope that one day resources and attention will provide an answer. BTW: I thought we “hearers” represented only 2% of general population, but see 4% In the srticle. We’re gaining visibility!

    • I was also surprised to see four percent listed. But then, several sources have made different estimates.

    • Henrik says:

      From what I have picked up at various websites, including German ones, the figure 4% of the total population is often quoted as the estimate for total hum observations/sufferers, out of which roughly one half can be traced to environmental (acoustic) noise sources, leaving around 2% as the approximate prevalence of “The Real Hum”, which is so far unexplained. German sources often refer to this as “low-frequency tinnitus”, although it has not been shown that the biological mechanism would be the same as for the normal tinnitus.

    • The 2% generally mentioned almost certainly originates from the classic paper of Mullins and Kelly from 1995:

      Click to access v5n3.pdf

      They state there that it is a lower limit. It was based on a mail survey of a thousand or so residents.

  2. Eva Fishman says:

    Hi Glen –
    I feel I need to respond to the last couple sentences of the article, and perhaps to Bernie’s last response to me a few weeks ago:

    “Thus he believes there is no external, physical source. Rather, he argues it involves a neurological element: “This is caused by something internal – some internally generated perception of sound. But we need to know the trigger and what kind of exposures might be necessary. We also need to know other things the population might have in common that could help explain this.”

    I am NOT convinced this is an internally generated phenomenon. If that were the case, why did it suddenly appear in the ’70’s? Why would it be horrific on some days, and barely there on others?

    Those of us with common tinnitus know what an internal sound is like, it is incessant and doesn’t wax and wane in intensity like the HUM does, it can’t be blocked or masked (such as with a sound machine at night) like the HUM can, for most HUM hearers it is worse in a building and not perceived in all buildings or areas, tinnitus is there no matter what. I didn’t hear the HUM until I moved to my current home 10 years ago – why? Why do some of us perceive a physical vibratory sensation in our bodies when it is intense/loud?

    I agree that hearers may have physiological factors that allow them to perceive the HUM, and I wrote extensive comments a few years ago about that very thing. Asking about a trigger seems to beg the question – what kind of internal trigger would cause a sudden perception of something like the HUM? How does that explain it being louder in some rooms of the house and quieter in others – and rarely perceived out of doors? An external trigger (and source)is more likely. Not to sound facetious, but can a deaf person perceive the phenomenon? What will happen to those of who may lose hearing as we age, will the HUM still be perceived? If yes, then an internal generation would be confirmed. However, if NOT, then an external generation is likely the source.
    The answer to those 2 questions requires a longitudinal study, which requires money and the ability to follow hearers for perhaps decades to see how it “all turns out”.

    Has anyone considered exploring the cause of the “mystery illness” experienced by embassy personnel in Cuba and China a few years ago? Within the last few days there have been articles (Washington Post) and news stories about it, tracing it to the frequencies used in listening devices that weren’t onsite. No, I don’t think there’s a conspiracy, just being open to possibilities, however remote or far-fetched.

    As ever,
    Eva Fishman

    • Replying to Eva Fishman MARCH 18, 2019 AT 7:48 PM

      Hi Eva. Please remind me where I commented to you a “few weeks ago” as I think I remember doing so, but can’t find it – suggesting that it was perhaps a fresh comment on a much older thread.

      As for your point: “I am NOT convinced this is an internally generated phenomenon. If that were the case, why did it suddenly appear in the ’70’s?”

      Well, we don’t actually know that it DID appear suddenly in the ’70’s. More likely the 90’s, and not suddenly? I mentioned a couple of years ago the possibility that it is not the occurrences of the Hum, but rather the widespread MENTION of these occurrences that appeared suddenly. Why? Well, what was sudden at that time (1995 say) was the rise of the Internet. (In 1975, if one heard a strange humming, where would one look for information, or go to widely report it?)


  3. Kurt says:

    But great article

  4. Kurt says:

    Two things: It is not an internal phenomenon, and it is not intirely an urban phenomenon either. I have lived several places in the countryside in Denmark where the noise is loud, And another thing, the hum is not a big brother thing, My experience tells me that the hum has many sources depending where you are geograficly. The noise is very loud at the moment in the south of Denmark and no sound in The capital Copenhagen, just been there for the weekend.Sorry for the bad spelling 😊

  5. Henrik says:

    Eva and Kurt: The fact that people hear a hum that has a different frequency for different individuals already proves that there is no single environmental, let alone “cosmic”, source of The Hum.

    The home page http://www.thehum.info contains the tools for each individual to determine whether what he or she hears is internal or external in origin. There are also hints for identifying the source of environmental noise sources.

    If a hum feels to be stronger in certain rooms, that may be due to room resonances, which amplify some environmental sound source. Still, if the FFT analysis does not show anything at the frequency of your hum, the hume is internally generated.

  6. yewie56 says:

    The argument, that different hearers can not identify the same frequency of a identified noise, is absolutely NOT significant for determining an internal cause.
    I absolutly do NOT hear any sinusodial sound. Instead it is a roaring rumble, on which i definitley can not identify any frequency.
    It is a time-modulated mix of different frequencies.
    I wonder, that this noise had been tried to determine any underlying frequency. Possibliy i can determine it as a mix between 30Hz and 80Hz-
    But there ist not any constant frequency. Can you determine the frequency of the rumbling of a bridge crossing truck? Absolutely NOT.

    • Henrik says:

      The wast majority of the hum map observations describe the perception of a more or less steady or pulsating “hum” (=tone with harmonics), and the suggested methods refer to that category. If you hear something that sounds more like a rumble, and it is an otoacoustic phenomenon, it may not even be generated by the same mechanisms as the “hum” we are trying to identify. If it is external, it can be recorded and analyzed.

      • yewie56 says:

        Sorry, is that common understanding here now, that there is no more searching for external mechanisms here?

        I remember experiments with the Deming box for example.
        And yes, you can always record and analyze some acustic events in low frequency ranges.
        The problem is, that these measurement traces are always rejected by regularities – for example the hearing fence.
        What, if there are other mechanisms, which are accompaning these acustic measurements and are enhancing the effect like for example vibrations.
        Could it not be, that adding two causes together could amplify them over traditional hearing limits? Remember that hearing and vibration detection is located at nearly the same internal human organ.
        But this was only one example.

        Another example: With my microbarograph i can detect massive very short pressure pulses. Even this are not be seen in a microphone record especially in an FFT analyzer.

        Comprising: Do not reject the opportunity, that what we are measuring are not applicable to our COMPLETE human sensory system.

  7. yewie56 says:

    To your entry:
    “…The wast majority of the hum map observations describe the perception of a more or less steady or pulsating “hum” (=tone with harmonics) …”!

    In Germany the wast majority describes the sound like an idling truck motor.
    Because this is a combination of AM and FM it is very hard to estimate at least the center frequency. This seems to be reserved to very diligent people.
    As a former member of the “Dresdner Kreuzchor” with an absolute harmonic hearing i really can not provide the prevalent frequency of this noise.

    • Henrik says:

      It is not clear to me what you are trying to prove, except that your hum is not internal.
      External influences can be electric or magnetic fields, vibrations and acoustic sounds. They can all be detected, measured and analyzed, and the source can be identified. If nothing can be detected or measured, the source is internal.
      The remaining mystery is how those internal otoacoustic noises are generated. In Germany the internally generated Hum is routinely referred to as low-frequency tinnitus. However, the neurological mechanism may be different from that of the regular tinnitus, so we have here so far avoided that conclusion.

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