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Mysterious annoying noise driving people crazy around the world

Moot

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If the sound doesn't go away when they put on noise muffling headphones, then wouldn't that suggest it's in their heads?
 

MMC

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Looks like it did for one person.....my question would be if these people hear the hum. Why Don't they also get that tinnitus, and ringing within the inner ear?

The cases seem to have several factors in common: Generally, the Hum is only heard indoors, and it's louder at night than during the day. It's also more common in rural or suburban environments; reports of a hum are rare in urban areas, probably because of the steady background noise in crowded cities.

Who hears the Hum?

Only about 2 percent of the people living in any given Hum-prone area can hear the sound, and most of them are ages 55 to 70, according to a 2003 study by acoustical consultant Geoff Leventhall of Surrey, England.

Being dismissed as crackpots or whiners only exacerbates the distress for these complainants, most of whom have perfectly normal hearing. Sufferers complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds and sleep disturbances. At least one suicide in the United Kingdom has been blamed on the Hum, the BBC reports

Back in the United States, the Kokomo Hum was isolated in a 2003 study financed by the Indiana city's municipal government. The investigation revealed that two industrial sites — one a Daimler Chrysler plant — were producing noise at specific frequencies. Despite noise-abatement measures, some residents continue to complain of the Hum.

What causes the Hum?

Most researchers investigating the Hum express some confidence that the phenomenon is real, and not the result of mass hysteria or hearers' hypochondria (or extraterrestrials beaming signals to Earth from their spaceships).

There's some speculation that the Hum could be the result of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, audible only to some people. And there are verified cases in which individuals have particular sensitivities to signals outside the normal range of human hearing.....snip~

Mysterious Hum Driving People Around the World Crazy
 

MMC

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Heya Wolfie.
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I was also just thinking if any other animals can hear this hum. Say like these people's pets.
 

wolfie

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Heya Wolfie.
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I was also just thinking if any other animals can hear this hum. Say like these people's pets.

Hi MMC..how are ya?...:)

I guess they can..it probably doesn't bother them though..it just amalgamates with the rest of the ''unknown'' noises they have to deal with in their everyday lives..

I have heard of the ''Hum''..there was a documentary about it on the BBC..I couldn't hear a thing and yet it was driving some people nuts...

Some people claimed they could hear it on their TV's..

After this documentary..there was 30% rise in people who claimed they could now hear it...

It did seem like mass hysteria to me..

I remember a really dirty looking guy coming into our reception...he never stopped scratching..within seconds everyone who had seen him was scratching!
 

MaggieD

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A very interesting story, Jango. It's interesting to me that "it's a mystery." Either the sound is there, or it isn't. If it can't be picked up on the sophisticated equipment we have available to us to analyze and record sound, then it doesn't exist, in my opinion. IOW, it's got to be something these people are hearing 'internally' -- like the tinnitus mentioned. Since it's most often heard by people 55+, that's what I think it probably is; people suddenly attuned to their own circulatory system or some such.

Weird.
 

DiAnna

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I'm skeptical, but open to evidence. Seems to me that if the hum was "real", scientific instruments should be able to record evidence of its existence, thereby confirming that a small percentage of the population has a more expansive hearing range than is normal. Since there is no such evidence, I'll presume the hum doesn't exist outside of the individual's head. :shrug:

Real or not, I empathize with those affected. It certainly could drive a person insane.
 

Helix

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a town about forty miles from me has been experiencing this, too. i can hear things outside of the normal range, too. i hear those anti-mouse things that you plug into the wall; it's this amazingly high pitch squeal that oscillates. my grandma had one, and i was the only one who could hear it. it was definitely an annoying sound; i see why the mice run from it.
 

HonestJoe

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I wouldn't be surprised if there was a significant element of vaguely similar issues being spuriously lumped together as a single phenomena. There are clearly several different things which could explain this effect, some of which were mentioned in the article, even mentioned as being identified as the cause in some places.

It's like the fact that any unexplained light or object in the sky is instantly attributed to sentient alien beings in spaceships, ignoring the countless alternative (and often much more likely) explanations.
 

Moot

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Maybe they're hearing OM....


"....Hindus believe that as creation began, the divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as sound "OM".

Before creation began it was "Shunyākāsha", the emptiness or the void. Shunyākāsha, meaning literally "no sky", is more than nothingness, because everything then existed in a latent state of potentiality. The vibration of "OM" symbolises the manifestation of God in form ("sāguna brahman"). "OM" is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be "Adi Anadi", without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists.[1] The mantra "OM" is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, A-U-M represents the divine energy (Shakti) united in its three elementary aspects: Bhrahma Shakti (creation), Vishnu Shakti (preservation) and Shiva Shakti (liberation, and/or destruction).[1]....read...."
Om - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Green Balls

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When I was in school for sound engineering, they talked about how hearing the same frequencies continually would cause the hairs inside the ear canal to weaken and lay down, causing you to hear the same frequencies without any sound present. I believe the same type of issue is going on here. The fact that the age range is 55-70 gives reason for this since they are most likely people who have lived in these areas for a good number of years and being exposed to industrial noise. Of course the sound will be louder at night since there are less sounds masking the constant hum.

As a side note, eventually the hairs exposed to the same frequencies will break off from the constant stress and cause you to lose hearing of that frequency. It takes years for this to happen. This is the same thing that plagues stage musicians who play in front of loud amplifiers for many years in a row (Ted Nugent as an example, who is deaf in one ear).
 

Goshin

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a town about forty miles from me has been experiencing this, too. i can hear things outside of the normal range, too. i hear those anti-mouse things that you plug into the wall; it's this amazingly high pitch squeal that oscillates. my grandma had one, and i was the only one who could hear it. it was definitely an annoying sound; i see why the mice run from it.


Same-same. I hear into the ultrasonic.


For a long time I could not go into a room where there was an ultrasonic motion detector (used to be common burglar alarm gear). I could hear it, and it sounded like a knife through my ears... could literally bring me to my knees.


Since I've reached 40-odd though my ability to hear ultrasonic sounds has largely gone away... and frankly I'm glad of it, it was just a pain mostly.
 

Helix

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Same-same. I hear into the ultrasonic.


For a long time I could not go into a room where there was an ultrasonic motion detector (used to be common burglar alarm gear). I could hear it, and it sounded like a knife through my ears... could literally bring me to my knees.


Since I've reached 40-odd though my ability to hear ultrasonic sounds has largely gone away... and frankly I'm glad of it, it was just a pain mostly.

i figured fifteen years standing in front of a drum kit would kill it for me. little bit of ringing, but that's it; in-ear monitors slowed it down a bit. i found the electronic pest repellent pretty interesting, though. my mom could feel the pressure, but couldn't peg the note; everybody else couldn't hear anything.
 

Goshin

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i figured fifteen years standing in front of a drum kit would kill it for me. little bit of ringing, but that's it; in-ear monitors slowed it down a bit. i found the electronic pest repellent pretty interesting, though. my mom could feel the pressure, but couldn't peg the note; everybody else couldn't hear anything.


... oh yeah; and then people look at you like you're crazy, or making it up, or a mutant, which is totally no end of fun right?
 

Fisher

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I think some people are just more cognizant of things like hums and vibrations. I know I am and I am not close to the 55-70 age range. I spent a fair amount of time in my teens driving very loud machines like tractors and commercial mowers. A change in vibration or the consistency of the loud noise was usually your first warning sign that something was wrong with the machine. Ever since then, I can still hear hums and feel vibrations that others do not notice.

I doubt there is a single source. For instance as soon as a factory near me closed down for good, the very low hum I could hear from it five miles away nobody else ever noticed stopped. I also live near train tracks and can often tell you when a train is coming at night a good ten minutes before you ever hear its first faint whistle because I can sense the hum of the engine which I assume vibrates down the rails and I can pick up on it. The tradeoff is I don't notice most smells other than obnoxious or perfumy ones. "what is that smell?" "don't know. can't smell it" I blame my adnoids surgery resulting in my nose having to be cauterized to stop the bleeding for that one.
 

Bob Blaylock

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A very interesting story, Jango. It's interesting to me that "it's a mystery." Either the sound is there, or it isn't. If it can't be picked up on the sophisticated equipment we have available to us to analyze and record sound, then it doesn't exist, in my opinion. IOW, it's got to be something these people are hearing 'internally' -- like the tinnitus mentioned. Since it's most often heard by people 55+, that's what I think it probably is; people suddenly attuned to their own circulatory system or some such.

Weird.

I used to work in an obscure field of acoustics, so this is something of an area of expertise for me.

You are, of course, exactly correct.

Sound, as we know it—as our ears are able to detect—consists of rapid changes in air pressure. (My field was underwater acoustics, so in the case of my work, it was mostly water pressure rather than air pressure, but the same principles apply. (Though I did work with some measurements of sound in air,and even with sound through solid earth and ice.)) We had microphones that were far more sensitive than a human ear, over a wider frequency range.

If the air is vibrating in this manner, that anyone would hear it as sound, then equipment would be able to easily detect these vibrations. I didn't see anywhere in the article where it mentioned whether any such attempts were made, but if a proper set of microphones and related equipment is unable to detect a sound, then the sound is not there. Period. And if anyone “hears” a sound that such equipment cannot detect, then it is something happening internally in that person's ears, auditory nerves, or brain; and not the ears responding to an actual sound from outside that person's head. At most, perhaps it is the ears responding to some internal noise happening inside the person's head, perhaps as a result of some turbulence in the blood vessels in that person's head.
 
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