Have You Heard “The Hum”?

August 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
Various features of modern life have been blamed – gas pipes, power lines, mobile phone masts, wind farms, nuclear waste, even low-frequency submarine communications.

The internet is abuzz with rumour and speculation. There are dark mutterings about secret military activity, alien contact and government cover-ups. The hum even featured in an episode of the sci-fi drama “The X-Files”.

Such conspiracy theories are understandable, but unhelpful, according to Dr David Baguley, who’s head of audiology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

He estimates that in about a third of cases there is some environmental source that can be tracked down and dealt with.

“It may be a fridge or an industrial fan or a piece of heavy machinery at a nearby factory that is causing the disturbance and can be switched off,” he says.

Most of the time, however, there is no external noise that can be recorded or identified.

You can hear an amplified recording of the hum, at the source.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Have you heard ‘the Hum’?

Picture of a man holding his hand over his ear
For decades, hundreds of people worldwide have been plagued by an elusive buzzing noise known as “the Hum”. Some have blamed gas pipes or power lines, others think their ears are faulty. A few even think sinister forces could be at work.

“It’s a kind of torture, sometimes you just want to scream,” exclaims retired head teacher Katie Jacques.

“It has a rhythm to it – it goes up and down. It sounds almost like a diesel car idling in the distance and you want to go and ask somebody to switch the engine off – and you can’t.”

The hum is a phenomenon that has been reported in towns and cities across the world from Vancouver in Canada to Auckland in New Zealand.

And the problem is on the increase, according to the Low Frequency Noise Sufferers’ Association. Two thousand people have so far contacted its helpline, and it says it receives two or three new cases every week. They are generally over 50 and are mostly female.

So what is the cause?

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