Humming Sound

by Deb

Hi Sarinne,

What advice can you offer in regards to blocking out very low frequency noise? I have recently moved into a double brick house and at night I hear this constant low frequency humming noise. I am guessing that it is coming from somewhere far away as it doesn't seem like it's coming from within the house anywhere.

I have covered the vents with foam which doesn't help much.

Thanks for any advice.

Sleep deprived,

Reply from Noise Help:

Oooh, that's a very tough one. Without knowing the source of the noise, it's hard to know how to address it.

Many people, from different parts of the world, hear a sound called "The Hum," which could be what you are describing. The cause is unknown, and it's notoriously difficult to reduce the disturbance it causes. Here are a couple of links that give more information on it:
Wikipedia entry: The Hum
Hum Forum on Yahoo! Groups

The two things I would try first would be:
  • Noise-cancelling headphones, which are designed to cancel continuous sounds and work well against low-frequency noise, like the noise inside the passenger cabin of a plane. People who are dealing with "The Hum" report mixed results with noise cancellation, but it could be worth a try. It would be a pain to sleep with them, but if they help it would at least give you an option.
  • A noise-masking device, like a white noise machine (or a fan, or a radio tuned to static). It might cover over the humming sound enough so that you can at least get to sleep at night.

And of course, if you can locate the source of the sound, then you might be able to find a way to address it directly. But since low-frequency sounds can travel long distances, you're right that it could be coming from far away. Try asking your neighbors if they hear it. Maybe they have more information, or can suggest ways to deal with it.

I wish I could tell you more. I hope you find a solution!


Comments for Humming Sound

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Sep 12, 2013
Bass Subwoofer Speaker/Electronic Harassment
by: Elizabeth

My next door neighbor plays a self powered bass subwoofer speaker 24/7 to electronically harass me over a fence dispute. My windows, walls, floors, etc. vibrate. Beats my ear drums. Can I do anything to stop the bass noise rumble hum? The police won't cite him because the bass noise is not loud. Please help. I don't want to move. Thank you very much.


Sep 16, 2013
Electronic Harassment
by: Sarinne

Hello, Elizabeth. I'm so sorry to hear of the problem with your neighbor. Low-frequency vibration of your home 24/7 is a whole new level of nerve-racking!

As you're no doubt aware, you feel the low frequency sound in your whole body, not just through your ears. For that reason, conventional measures like ear plugs, hearing protectors, and white noise don't do much to block it out or cover it up. It would probably require a massive remodeling job or even rebuilding of your home to fortify it against the vibration. However, even then I would worry that the problem would not be resolved, since in this case the neighbor is doing it deliberately to harass you and would probably simply switch tactics and find some other way to disturb you.

For defending yourself against unreasonably difficult neighbors, you might check out Bob Borzotta's book Neighbors from Hell for fresh perspective, practical guidance, and encouragement.

I hope you find a solution that lets you keep your home as well as your peace of mind.

-- Sarinne from Noise Help

Dec 26, 2013
You are not alone
by: Lori

It's the switch mode power supply from the smart meter on your house.

Apr 04, 2014
possible tool NEW

Your neighbor could be using an LFO synthesizer. I have also seen on youtube, drone machines hooked up with an amp. Creates low frequency pulsing sound. There is also drone, ambient and binaural songs or apps that can be downloaded. Try using an fft or spectrum to identify.

Jul 25, 2014
Definety not alone! NEW
by: Don

I've been trying for years to find the source of the humming, drone noise. best I can describe is twin engines from an AC-130 Hercules. They are synchronized and seldom get off frequency.I thought that they could have been chicken house fans way. Folks are reporting the noise all over the planet. there has got to be a common denominator!

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