Author Topic: Strange, persistant humming noise  (Read 2164 times)

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MarkS

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Strange, persistant humming noise
« on: May 23, 2016, 06:28:18 »
I've finally got to the bottom of a strange humming noise I've been hearing off and on since moving to my new house.  The best description I can give of it is an electrical humming noise like some kind of generator, industrial fan or noisy fridge/freezer.  Dee can never hear it so I was reluctant to draw it to her attention because once you start to hear it you can never get rid of it.  Typically I would hear it when putting my head to the pillow at night.

One evening, just to rule out the obvious, I switched off the electricity at the main fusebox.  The noise was still there - this means it was not coming from inside our house at all but was coming in from the outside (since our house is detached) - either through the walls or up through the ground.  One night I went for a wander to see if I could track it down.   I could hear it near the sewage treatment unit but I could also hear it further up the road where one neighbour has a heat exchanger for his swimming pool and another has pumps for a massive Koi carp pond. Further up the road is the farm and sure enough, a similar noise was coming from the farm.  So I wasn't sure which of these noises was travelling through the ground and into our house.  I made plans to build some sensitive equipment to record the noise and isolate back to the cause.

Funnily enough I heard it at Kelling Heath when my head was on the pillow (my lilo is directly on the ground) and in the middle of the night I traced it back to the pub and "village square" area - probably an air conditioning unit or similar?

To cap it all I heard a very similar noise on my recent trip to France but couldn't track it down - it seemed to be all around. 

Again Dee could never hear any of these humming noises.  Then it dawned on me that the noise was generated inside my head!  I did some internet research and found that there is a condition known as musical ear syndrome.  Similar to tinnitus, some people "hear" phantom music whilst many others hear a phantom humming motor type of noise.  In conclusion, I was taking the "noise" with me wherever I went!

There's no cure for it but I will go the doctor just to rule out any obvious medical problems.  So there we are.  For years I have always thought I have had super sensitive hearing which could hear these sounds that other people were unable to hear.  Now I know the truth is very different!

Mark

Carole

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 09:26:10 »
How annoying Mark.  My mum had tinnitus in one ear most of her life which made it difficult to hear in that ear. 
Strange that it started when you moved to the new house though.

Carole

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 17:26:13 »

Strange that it started when you moved to the new house though.

Carole
It's nice and quiet in the country, you can hear yourself think :)  Sidcup (and the rest of London) has a constant background hum  which never stops. Trouble is Mark will now never be sure if he's left something switched on!
Life is like a box of chocolates, scoff it while it's in front of you.

RobertM

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 18:38:39 »
I'm sorry to hear you suffer with it too Mark.  It's one of those things that can go but I've had mine for many years.  There are ways to distract you from it but they mostly involve adding some patterned noise such as waves breaking against a beach (at a low volume).

It's very strange that it started when you moved in.

Robert

Apophis

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 20:09:33 »
Your story could have been out of the X-Files , only the truth isn't out there but inner-ear.
Sorry about the condition though Mark.
Roger
Look and ye shall find

MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 20:58:43 »
I can't be sure exactly when it started but I only began to notice it once we were here in the countryside and for most of that time I simply blamed a noisy fridge or computer fan.  In Sidcup we lived on a busy road so it very rarely became quiet enough to notice any phantom noise.  I generally don't notice it until sound levels drop to those of a quiet library.

Mark

Carole

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2016, 18:53:02 »
That's good then Mark, at least it isn't loud enough to annoy you all the time.

Carole

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 18:45:16 »
Mark, dont you remember when I asked about the same thing. I drove me mad, usually at night, same sound as what you are describing. it went on for months, but must admit I cant hear it now. I dont think it was anything to do with me, but I was picking up some electrical noise, which varied in tone. I used to get it when in other locations as well
It is healthier to be mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton!

Mike

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MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2016, 22:47:22 »
Quote from: Mike
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum

Thanks Mike - that's a really useful link.  An idling diesel engine is really excellent description of what I "hear".  The article doesn't get me much closer to a complete diagnosis but it's sure nice to know I'm not the only person "hearing" it.

It's only in the last couple of months that I've made efforts to track down the cause.  I've "heard" exactly the same thing in three completely different geographic locations so I'm beginning to think it originates inside me somehow, rather than being acoustic or electromagnetic.

Mark
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 23:00:41 by MarkS »

Delphine

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #10 on: Jun 06, 2016, 20:37:36 »
My daughter and grandaughter tell me that they heard a humming sound when they were sitting on some rocks at Camber Sands but couldnt make out where it was coming from as there was no machinery in sight. It was if there was a generator under the ground.  However they couldn't hear it when they were sitting on the sand only on the rocks.  Very weird!!   Makes me think of War of the Worlds! 

Does anyone have an explanation for this?

Delphine





MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #11 on: Jun 06, 2016, 23:06:32 »
Quote from: Delphine
My daughter and grandaughter tell me that they heard a humming sound when they were sitting on some rocks at Camber Sands but couldnt make out where it was coming from as there was no machinery in sight. It was if there was a generator under the ground.  However they couldn't hear it when they were sitting on the sand only on the rocks.  Very weird!!   Makes me think of War of the Worlds! 

Does anyone have an explanation for this?

Good question - I feel like I'm back at square one on this.  Am I picking up something that is genuinely "out there" or is it something being synthetically generated inside me?

I'm off to the Scottish island of Islay this weekend.  I wonder if I'll notice it there?

Mark

Mike

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Fay

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #13 on: Jun 14, 2016, 16:32:26 »
you probably did after all that whiskey!!!!!!!!!
It is healthier to be mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton!

MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #14 on: Jun 14, 2016, 17:42:58 »
Yes, the hum was there on Islay :(

Mark

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #15 on: Jun 14, 2016, 18:32:36 »
so it must be you mark.
my hum was indoors. i heard it when I stayed at Micks, but his fan was left on downstairs, so that cancelled that event out
It is healthier to be mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton!

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #16 on: Jun 15, 2016, 20:19:32 »
I can hear hums quite often at night here when I'm in the observatory. It's seafood processing at the coast 1.5Km away and occurs when the tides mean a load of fresh stuff has been landed at night. Yummy oysters, mussels, lobsters and the like... But I can't hear these noises from the house. Odd. (Or maybe I am).

But recently I have heard a different low hum in the house during late evening for an hour or so. It sounds like infra-bass and it varies over a short time. I suspect a neighbour has a new sub-woofer on his gaming PC.

BTW In Islay there are a lot of distilleries with water pumps and the like not to mention the bagpipes.
Life is like a box of chocolates, scoff it while it's in front of you.

Mike

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MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #18 on: Jun 29, 2016, 23:58:25 »
Quote from: Mike
Cracking The Mystery Of The ‘Worldwide Hum’

Interesting article.  For those interested I've been able to synthesize fairly accurately what I'm hearing using a couple of online signal generators - a mixture of square waves, triangular waves and sine waves that sounds pretty close.
It's in Windows Media File format:  http://www.markshelley.co.uk/webdisk/MarksHum.wma

The base frequency is almost exactly 50 Hz and it deliberately contains a beat frequency (a kind of slow "Wah Wah Wah" effect) which I synthesized by mixing two signals with very close frequencies.

Enjoy!

Mark

Carole

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #19 on: Jun 30, 2016, 11:11:15 »
Must be very tiresome.

Carole

MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #20 on: Jun 30, 2016, 23:58:25 »
Quote from: Carole
Must be very tiresome.

I only really notice it in bed and when I'm in bed I don't stay awake long enough to notice!

Mark

MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #21 on: Jul 26, 2016, 00:17:57 »
Strangely enough, the hum disappeared during my holiday in the Dordogne, France.  It was there at the beginning of the holiday and gone by the end.  Now I can't hear it at all.  How very weird.  Maybe excessive quantities of Bordeaux Red Wine are the cure!

Mark
« Last Edit: Jul 26, 2016, 06:27:00 by MarkS »

MarkH

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #22 on: Jul 29, 2016, 20:44:38 »
Do you have any dental fillings Mark?

MarkS

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #23 on: Jul 29, 2016, 23:03:48 »
Yes, I have fillings.  They were there before the holiday and still there after.

Mark

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Re: Strange, persistant humming noise
« Reply #24 on: Jul 30, 2016, 20:46:15 »
Do you know anyone who can let you have access to an anechoic chamber?

At least that way you can prove if its in or out side of your head.

Mac.
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