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Who is behind this project?



This news and research blog augments the World Hum Database and Mapping Project located http://www.thehum.info

Dr. Glen MacPherson lectured for 16 years at the University of British Columbia (UBC), training mathematics teachers in the Faculty of Education, and now works with UBC Robson Campus with its GMAT and GRE curriculum program. He is also an ethnographic researcher, and high school teacher of physics, mathematics, psychology, general science, and biology. He lives and works on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. His books, articles, and speaking engagements focus primarily on mathematics education.

After first noticing the Hum in spring of 2012 and discovering the Hum community, he sensed the need for a unified, moderated, and serious place for discussions and research surrounding the world Hum. This led to the World Hum Map and Database Project.

The current working theory is that the world Hum is rooted in part in VLF radio transmissions, although recent evidence has cast serious doubt on that.  There are four competing theories.

This is a place for disciplined inquiry, and not for wild speculation and conspiracy. There are many entertaining and interesting websites available for those who want to indulge in those activities.

Contact Glen at glen.macpherson@gmail.com



  1. Janet Menage says:

    A publication out of M.I.T. in the States talks about designing a ‘sound processor’ to deal with Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) atmospheric noise in worldwide locations due to the Sanguine system of ELF communications. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1092215/. Is this relevant to the Worldwide Hum, I wonder? Are M.I.T. therefore in posession of information about what is causing the Hum? It might be worth contacting the author(s) of the paper? I am no expert in this field but maybe other forum users are?

  2. Claire says:

    I’m a 21 year old living in New Hampshire and I have just recently started to notice the hum. I find that it is greatly aggravated by electronic devices, I feel like I can hear the electricity running and some part of my mind has flipped to concentrate solely on that. It generates itself in silence when I’ve unplugged everything though and the more I try to remember what pure silence felt like the more the hum seems to grow in response. This is coupled with an unbelievable sense of alertness that has kept me up and wide awake for the last week. I’m only able to sleep in short increments when I used to be able to sleep for very long durations of time with no problems. If you ever need subjects for a study count me in. I’m going to invest in a fan or a white noise generator and hopefully learn to deal with this sensation.

    • Janet Menage says:

      There’s an interesting documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFR5EtO_zdM which describes how EMF (electromagnetic fields) disrupt melatonin production, thus disturbing sleep patterns, & also adversely affect melatonin’s anti-oxidant function, thus contributing to cancer formation.
      It is also noteworthy that Sweden apparently considers 2.5% of the population to be electrosensitive, which is remarkably similar to the estimate that 2% of any given population that can hear the Hum. Coincidence? It would be illuminating to see how many Hum sufferers are also electrosensitive. Or is the Hum simply a symptom of electrosensitivity in some people?
      Given that microwave hearing is documented, maybe the barrage of microwaves from millions of cellphone towers actually creates the Hum in some susceptible individuals?

  3. Claudia says:

    I’m a 38 year old female from the Blue Mountains in Australia and I started hearing the hum in November 2016. It terrified me as no one really knew what h was talking about and to this day I still hear it. Sometimes it’s stronger sometimes on there but usually it is there. I notice it sometimes quite strong when I get home at night and turn my car off. I’ll say that I have constant ringing in my left ear due to hearing damage 10years ago and tonight I noticed if I stick my finger in that ear even for a few seconds, when I take it out the hum is gone for 30 seconds or so then comes back slowly. It doesn’t do this if I block my right ear. If I block my right ear, when I let go the hum is very strong but on my left side with an almost feeling of vibration to it but again only for a few seconds. This makes me think it’s me and it scares me a lot. Around the time this started I was also under severe stress which is only starting to get better. I am less frightened as to what this could be.

    • As a psychology teacher, I know that some types of fears are completely legitimate. In this case, however, I don’t think you have anything immediate to worry about. No doubt that the Hum can be a real nuisance – in some cases an awful nuisance, which is what motivates us to get to the bottom of it.

      • Claudia says:

        I’m lost! In tying to figure it out I’ve noticed when it started to rain, even light sprinkling that it starts to go away? Could there be a reason for this? Also, the last two nights it has been so loud when I get home and turn the car off. If I then open the door and step out its almost gone. I then walk inside where it’s totally loud but two minutes later it almost goes. What is that?????? Why does it stop when I walk inside?

      • Claudia says:

        Also, sorry to reply again but at about the same time I noticed the hum, I developed these strange head sensations no doc or specialist can tell me what it is. I feel my scalp go cold in some spots and sometimes it burns and crawls rather than being cold. If I touch it though my head is actually warm. Could it be related somehow?

  4. Claudia says:

    Hello, thank you for replying. I think I just emailed you as well. What is it and how can we be told its not serious if no one knows what it is?

    • Regarding the gravity of things: there have been a few isolated, unconfirmed, and anecdotal reports of people who have been driven to self-harm over it, but in general the major medical complaints associated with the Hum include ear pain, headaches, and sometimes a vibrational component. I haven’t done the stats on those complaints yet. AS for any sort of “threat” associated with the Hum, I’ve seen absolutely no evidence of any. We are working on the solution.

  5. Alisyn says:

    I have participated in discussions in the past, but have not been keeping up on all the comments. You may have already discussed/shared this info., but has anyone set up sound equipment to register the hum where it is well pronounced? Seems that would be a good way to validate the hum and possibly share data with utilities, local gov’t, authorities, etc. in order to research and investigate the source. The last time I heard it in my area (Portland, OR) I posted it to nextdoor.com, a neighborhood site. Several of my neighbors commented that they also heard it the same nights I did… I’ve been hearing it off and on for about 6 years, only at night, and have heard it distinctly start at about 10pm and stop in the morning….

  6. Simon says:

    There have been many attempts to make audio recordings of the hum, but it has proved very difficult. My local environmental health office lent me a very expensive bit of kit for a few days (some years ago) to try and make some recordings, but it was very difficult to make out the hum (if at all) on the playback, even through headphones. I have some recordings that a guy in France sent me that sounded (to me at least) very convincing, but Bernie Hutchins did some analysis on these and assessed them to be of something other than the hum as we know it, so I am now not sure it is actually possible to capture the hum in this way, although some folk claim to have done it successfully.

    By the way, If anyone is interested, I have stumbled on a way to block the hum pretty effectively, but I will need a bit of help to get parts made and tested in order to prove the concept. If anyone out there has access to a 3D printer and or scanner please get in touch.

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Simon,

      I’m interested in any device or method that might disrupt the Hum. So far the only thing that I know of that seems to work for me is Bernie’s headshake method, which often results in a momentary interruption to the Hum.

      Have you actually managed to block the Hum with your method? Either way I would be interested to know what the idea behind it was.



  7. Simon says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Well, I have tried quite a few things over the years, and some very simple experiments I did recently have worked out well for me personally, but I am conscious that the individual response to the hum is very different, although I am convinced we all hear the same thing.

    I hear the hum in my right ear only. I have proved this by a bunch of tests that block the ear canal completely. This led me to trying some tests on my right ear with industrial earplugs. Fairly useless if used normally of course. They are made from foam, which allows sound waves to travel through the ear canal. Try a type 1100 plug made by 3M. Roll it in your fingers to compress it to a narrow cylinder (it should be new one of course), then insert it into the hum sensitive ear(s) and hold it there until it expands fully. When you hear the hum, gently compress the plug further into your ear with your forefinger, until the hum fades away and stops. You will hear the blood pumping round your head, but hopefully no hum. If not, well bad luck, but it works for me, as does head shaking and snorting hard!
    The device I have in mind is basically a custom earplug of very high density foam, which is held in place via a plastic clip that fits around the ear. This replaces the finger, and saves one having to try and sleep with a finger stuck in one’s ear..
    Best regards

    • Charlie says:

      Cheers for that! I’ll get hold of some of those earplugs and give it a go. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  8. Lisa Allen says:

    I am wondering if I am hearing what everyone calls “The Hum.” I assumed it was because although it gets louder and softer, it never stops, I’ve driven miles in every direction and still hear it, I’ve been to 2 audiologists and my ears are fine, I have investigated everything possible as the cause with no success, etc. But to me it vacillates between sounding more like a drone (which I have matched to a low E on the keyboard) and a pulsing drumbeat or bass-like sound from a car. When my head is on my pillow that is what I feel and hear – that bass-like beat. In bed it almost sounds like a heartbeat but I know it’s not because at times I feel/hear my heart and it’s not the same. I would be grateful for any feedback on this – thank you!

  9. Simon says:

    I forgot to mention, I recently came across a new type of ear plug made of metal (yes really) which are available in various materials (aluminium and titanium so far I believe) and have ordered a pair to try. You can find them here: https://www.flareaudio.com/collections/isolate

    They are not cheap, but if they really do work they will be worth every penny. I will let you know how I get on with these. Of course, you will still be able to”hear” sounds to some extent via bone conduction, but if it works well enough to get a decent night’s sleep then we might be getting somewhere.

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Simon,

      Sorry for the delay. Anyway, I finally got around to trying the foam earplugs in the way that you suggested. For me the Hum was just as loud with the earplugs in as out. In fact it was more noticeable due to the reduction of ambient sound. Which is the same result that I have got using a variety of sound blocking methods – eg. earmuffs, earplugs of various sorts, pillows etc. All of which leads me to believe that my experience of the Hum is probably not caused by regular sound.


  10. Carrie says:

    Greetings from Michigan. I have been experiencing “The Hum” since mid-February 2017. I would describe it as a low, rumbling, pulsating noise similar to bass from a car stereo system, and/or an idling truck engine. It is especially loud at night in my home and prevents adequate sleep. I am able to hear and feel it in my skull, in all rooms of the house. It occasionally subsides during the day. I have contacted the township supervisor and the county environmental health department to no avail. I understand that the environmental health agency should be able to provide a noise detection device, but so far they have not returned my calls and seem uninterested in pursuing this, claiming that no-one else has reported it. My regular computer microphone does not seem to pick it up so I will need high-tech equipment to verify the sound. I am also dismayed to see that 22,000 Windsor residents have reported this, all the way up to the level of Prime Minister Trudeau, and nothing is being done. If the entire city can’t get the problem resolved in 5+ years, it makes a single individual in a different town feel discouraged that anyone will be willing to look into this. At this point I am just considering moving. Even if some invention will muffle the sound, the vibrations are still there affecting our health.

    • Phil says:

      I am in Michigan as well and hear the exact same thing….very annoying and may try earplugs. It oscillates, and sounds like a distant large engine running.

  11. Lisa Allen says:

    I also called the Dept. of Health and Environmental Services and the City Council but they said there was nothing in the area that would account for the noise. I didn’t know that 22,000 residents in Windsor, Ontario heard the hum! That’s the first I ever heard of that. I wonder if anyone contacted a local news station or newspaper about it. That is pretty discouraging that such a large number of people were ignored and no one cared enough to look into it.

  12. Janet Menage says:

    You will be lucky to find any geographical location that doesn’t have the hum/vibration. I started hearing the hum 16 months ago and since then have heard/felt it in every place I’ve travelled to, whether city or rural. I recently slept at a beach, between cliffs, and it was still there.
    Inexpensive, high density earplugs made from Bluetac wrapped in Clingfilm, help a bit, but as you say, the bone conduction/vibration is torturous. I put my bed legs on industrial, anti-vibration pads but that didn’t help. I now sleep with a digital radio on the floor at low volume which helps me sleep by providing a different focus. Interestingly, wrapping my head entirely in aluminium foil, down to my neck, did stop the noise, but I couldn’t breathe & had to hold my breath to hear the silence. Other foil headgear/earmuffs didn’t work.
    Does anyone know the mechanism by which the ionised plasma in the air (‘corona’) around high-voltage powerlines, produces mechanical soundwaves in the air (ie a hum or a cracking sound)?
    Holding a radio aerial can improve the signal, suggesting that the water/solute content of our bodies can conduct electromagnetism. In which case we may be acting as antennae for ubiquitous electromagnetic radiation (cellphone masts etc). Microwave hearing is possible. The ionosphere comes closer to the earth at night and HAARP pulses electricity into the ionosphere. This may well interfere with the Schumann resonances which we need as humans – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFR5EtO_zdM.
    My local environment health department recorded 50Hz at 20dB in my bedroom and said the recording (when amplified) sounded like a jet aircraft taxiing.
    I wrote to M.I.T. but they didn’t reply. It would be extraordinary if someone at that place didn’t have the answer to this conundrum.

  13. Lisa Allen says:

    I wonder how many Americans and Canadians hear the hum? If there were enough of us and we could create a lobby and bring this to Washington (for us in the U.S.) wouldn’t someone pay attention to this?

    • Ellen Morrison says:

      I have always felt the hum was atmospheric in nature, so began looking at explanations with that in mind. Here are two explanations that are plausible. The first is a link to a study in 2012, and the second is an article that was published in Nature. I live in Toronto Canada and hear the hum regularly, mostly at night. With these explanations, I accept it and it rarely bothers me anymore. Watching this site has helped as I know others hear it too. Perhaps these explanations will give some people peace with the hum.



      On Sat, Mar 4, 2017 at 7:57 PM, World Hum Map and Database Project wrote:

      > Lisa Allen commented: “I wonder how many Americans and Canadians hear the > hum? If there were enough of us and we could create a lobby and bring this > to Washington (for us in the U.S.) wouldn’t someone pay attention to this?” >

  14. Carrie says:

    For me The Hum cannot be heard from about 6 AM to 12 noon. Outside of that time I do hear it, and it is especially loud at night when other ambient sounds are missing.
    With any of the four theories, I cannot see why The Hum would subside at particular times of day. For example, VLF/infrasound, as well as the so-called smartgrid, are active at all times.
    Any ideas about why morning seems to help? If we could replicate “morning conditions” (perhaps wind patterns / air pressure) with some kind of device, we could at least obtain temporary relief, and ultimately determine what factors counteract and thus cause The Hum.

  15. Simon says:

    Hi Charlie, Well that’s bad luck I guess. I would say that for me the hum varies a fair bit in intensity (power??) from one day to the next (worse when colder I would say) and I have found I can partially block it or at least attenuate it a bit, with the help of the plugs and a bit of force.. I tried the metal plugs also that arrived this week in the post. They are aluminium with high density foam tips. They come with three sizes of tips, so i am currently experimenting with sizes to find the best one for me. The hum is still there, but the plug does reduce the volume of the hum quite well. Just a bit of extra pressure on the end of the plug is enough to stop it completely. Result! Fortunately for me, I only hear the hum in one ear, so I can afford to completely block that ear, and still be able to hear other stuff that I need to (alarm clock, smoke alarm etc!) and although quite a few folk report this too, there are some who have both ears affected. That’s really bad luck. Anyway, we will just have to keep experimenting until we find a solution that works for everyone. I suspect we may never find the source, but if we can manage it with some gadgets then at least our lives will get back to something approaching normal..

    • Charlie says:

      Yeah It is bad luck, but kind of interesting at the same time. I have read others saying that earplugs are effective at least to some degree. I suppose that there could be two possible reasons for why earplugs work for some but not others. Either we’re all not hearing the same thing, or perhaps the Hum affects different people in somewhat different ways.

      Do the aluminium earplugs work better than the normal ones?

      cheers Charlie

  16. Simon says:

    Hi Charlie, yes I would say the aluminium plugs do work better than the regular foam ones. If fact, it only takes a small amount of extra pressure on the end of the plug to block the hum almost completely, at least for me. I think this is simply because the combination of the solid metal plug and the high density foam tip forms an almost perfect seal in the ear canal. My next step is to come up with a way of achieving a better seal, perhaps with custom plugs made to fit me exactly. I think this can be done by taking a cast or 3D scanning the ear, then either 3D printing or vacuum casting a plug in a flexible material that fits perfectly. If I can crack this one I will let you know!

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