Humming Sound

by Deb
(Australia)

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,
Deb

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!

Regards,
Sarinne




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.

Elizabeth

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
by:

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 but...no way. Folks are reporting the noise all over the planet. there has got to be a common denominator!

Sep 19, 2014
At last I have found others who would believe the hum. NEW
by: Susan

I am certain I this hum is external, I never used to hear it until I moved. I am no longer able to meditate as I cannot reach the level. This hum is definitely worse indoors, I can hear it through my pillow. Ear plugs do not block it out, it is far worse at night when other noises no longer 'block it out', it is awful, occasionally a car passes by and blocks its frequency out, but that is only momentary. I do not hear it when I visit my Son, he has no mains gas and has a cesspit. could it be water pumps or gas pipes under ground? I is certainly not nature. I know this because this HUM stops every Wednesday night until early hours. It then wakes me up.

Sep 21, 2014
SUSAN! NEW
by: Don

You are exactly right! I have wondered if the MANY gas pipe lines in the area could be carrying this hum noise. At the current moment the noise has subsided. I have not heard it in weeks. Or perhaps I have finally blocked it out. Lol, I will not even stop right at this moment to try and hear it! I will travel to the one of the pipe lines thT re less than a mile away the next time the hum appears.

Oct 01, 2014
humming NEW
by: susan

Please call your gas company, I had the same humming noise for two years. The gas company installed a new meter and it is totally gone.

Oct 04, 2014
Thanks Susan NEW
by: Don

Susan,
The noise I speak of is audible no matter where you travel in my community. I highly doubt it would be 1" residential service lines. The Gas lines I speak of are 48" supply lines that travel through-out the country. Which would make more sense, since the humming can be heard ALL OVER the country and in other countries. At this point I'm willing to bet we all have this common denominator!!

Oct 04, 2014
HUMMING NEW
by: susan

I see, I did hear it very slightly last night but it is better, do you think they will ever stop it?

Oct 04, 2014
Don NEW
by: SUSAN

I am not the Susan who wrote and suggested that I ask to have my gas metre changed, however, thank you Susan. I am inclined to agree with you Don because I can hear it outside too, it sends a vibration in to my ears, it is a sound wave which is (as I have discovered) not "audible" to all people. Personally it is terrible, potentially life destroying I now wonder how this effects new born babies and children, especially in the long term. I wonder what animals are tormented with this noise too. This is a man mad noise and one way or another, we will ultimately pay the price for what we are doing to this planet.
I am looking for ear phones, I dread the noise every single night.

Oct 04, 2014
HUMMING NEW
by: susan m

I was hearing it outside also, after the meter change it is extremely decreased so maybe some of it is from the underground gas pipes, it was really bad before,

Oct 04, 2014
Susan m NEW
by: SUSAN

Thankyou Susan, I will ask the gas company to change my metre. My problem is... will they believe me? I have been made to feel rather uncomfortable in the past whenever I have spoken about this subject because others could not hear it.. Once, even told to have my hearing checked (just in case!) for Tinnitus first! Things like that, and the constant broken sleep have rather worn me out.

Oct 04, 2014
HUMMING NEW
by: susan m

Try earplugs for now, it helps. We have sensitive hearing. I had no idea where to go for help with it.
The gas company called me and said I was due for a new meter so this happened by accident for me. I just listened now and there was nothing. I had been hearing it for years. It never hurts to ask. I wonder if everyone here has gas coming to thier house?

Oct 04, 2014
humming NEW
by: susan m

in 2013 I see a person named Lori said that she thought it was meter related, is she still here?

Oct 05, 2014
Bass NEW
by: Elizabeth

I believe it is bass frequency. Check with your neighbors to see if anyone is playing a bass subwoofer speaker with no music. It's just bass (white noise/sound masking). You are sensitive to the low frequency. Go see an Ear Noise and Throat (ENT) doctor to get an evaluation. You will have hearing tests to check for hearing loss. You probably have Hyperacusis Dysfunction. Persons with hyperacusis should be evaluated by a physician expert in ear disease, usually an otologist, neurotologist, or otoneurologist. See if they or your internist or your ENT doctor will prescribe Neurontin (Gabapentin) which numbs the nerves in your ear drums. You will no longer hear the bass noise and you will sleep. You may have stiff ear drums so when the bass which is a physical force hits your eardrums it's like a drum stick hitting your eardrums and it hurts. Other people's eardrums are flexible so the bass frequency goes through and they don't hear it or feel it. This is what my ENT doctor described it to me. Vibration is a physical property of bass frequency. Google the internet and read up on bass frequency and Hyperacusis Dysfunction. Good Luck!

Oct 05, 2014
ENT? NEW
by: Don

To Elizabeth,
I appreciate you input. However, the noise/hum is there. It is true that some people can hear it. It is also true that you have to listen for it to come through, and once it does, you always hear it. It IS NOT a disease. It is man-made and if the government cares about it they could waste more money on a study to actually find it. I live in the country...STICKS! This is nothing that can be heard in the city, simply because of it's own reasons. We do have natural gas as a utility so the small pipelines are all over. For some reason the meters are out along the roadside. It could be the source, but on certain nights and even some days the hum just seems like something more than a 2" supply line. That's why I eluded to the main distribution lines that cross through our county, and may other county's all over the nation. The noise does not me it disturbs me.It's obviously something we will have to learn to ignore to avoid it, just like many other things we do as humans can ignore. So,

Oct 06, 2014
Not an illness NEW
by: SUSAN

Thank you for your advice (regarding taking Gabapentin etc)however, I do not want to pump drugs in to my body to try and cure an external noise I have travelled to lots of places and this "hum" is not everywhere. I can liken it a pump labouring far off in the distance. Ear plugs do not block it out .. it passes through. After having experienced many months of meditation in different places .. I know this is man made and the fact that a lot of people can hear it means that we humans are actually capable of hearing this well (enhanced) It would be a far greater blessing if it was banned... modified ... if it could be sourced and acknowledged .. I feel it is ignored like so many other things because 'it won't do any harm... ignorance ... Well being is last on the list these days!

Oct 06, 2014
HUMMING NEW
by: susan m

I found this
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2013/12/03/dirty-electricity-from-smart-meters-answers-from-the-experts/

Nov 03, 2014
Neighbor who is harassing Elizabeth NEW
by:

Elizabeth, as I’am sure the owner of this page and local laws would not condone physical violence to stop the neighbor who is harassing you I won’t suggest it. You may have to resort to a law suite or restraining order. I'm not a lawyer so don't know what evidence you would need. It may be worth checking into. Perhaps an Engineering student at a local collage could help you document and quantify it.

Nov 15, 2014
Humming noise NEW
by: J.P.

I can tell you that it is not from the Smart meters. I thought so at first, had my landlord change Smart meter to analog, and humming noise is still here. It really is horrible that the people who can hear this low frequency hum will never hear silence again. It's insane. I used to love sitting in a quiet room and be in complete silence. I don't know why there isn't more news coverage about this, because it violates our rights. Has anyone had any luck with silicone earplugs? Normal earplugs do not work. Thanks.

Nov 15, 2014
Dear J.P. NEW
by: Susan

I absolutely agree with you, I no longer am able to meditate, this humming noise has deeply affected my life. Silicone ear plugs do not work ...that is .. they do not block that sound out. Ear phones work with music on but we are then restricted to not hearing! I personally cannot just lie in one position with ear phones on all night AND worst of all.. with ear phones on, I cannot hear my elderly mother if she calls out to me OR my dog if she gets up to go out. WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS? I agree .. What can we do??

Nov 15, 2014
Law Enforcement NEW
by: Elizabeth

Law Enforcement needs noise meters that measure the humming, rumbling Bass noise (18 - 25db) that we hear and then they could enforce the laws (noise nuisance/electronic harassment) that are in place to ticket the offender. I was told by local Police to find a sound specialist to measure and document the Bass noise and then they could take the document to a judge who would approve ticketing the offender. I cannot find a sound specialist to measure the Bass noise. Further, our local Government - Mayor, Governor, Senator, Congressman, etc. needs to be contacted and educated on what is being done to us. Perhaps, they could get the ball rolling on better laws to prevent the humming Bass noise. Not only do I experience the Bass noise, but the vibration, too. I had custom made earplugs made and they help. But, you cannot stop Bass frequency. It permeates everything. Although, my neighbor must have some way to insulate his Bass subwoofer or Sound Masking machine (White/Pink Noise) so he and his family can tolerate it - or he's plain nuts and enjoys it. The Gabapentin numbs the nerves in my eardrums and it helps tremendously. I barely hear the humming and rumbling or feel the physical pain that the Bass frequency causes me because Bass is a physical force and I can sleep at night. It's a heck of a note that neighbor can reach into the privacy of my home with his electronic harassment/Bass frequency and cause me physical harm, steal my peace that I am entitled to, and get away with it. Good Luck to all of you. May you find the Peace we so desperately deserve. Thank you.

Nov 16, 2014
To: J.P. NEW
by: Elizabeth

Hello, J.P Does your Land Lord have a Sound Masking Machine that produces this new white noise (Bass) to muffle noise or conversation for his renters? You can Google Sound Masking or search Amazon.com to order the Sound Masking machine. Department stores and Grocery stores are now installing these Sound Masking machines to muffle extraneous noise and conversation. Companies install Sound Masking machines to muffle office chatter in open working environments. The original white noise made a sssshhhhing sound like a fan and it did not hurt anyone. Now, this new white noise or pink noise is mostly Bass if not all Bass. That's why it produces the rumbling and humming sound. It does not bother some people. But, others like you and I, it hurts our eardrums because it's Bass which is a physical force beating our eardrums and because it's Bass (frequency) it carries, traveling low, and permeates everything. You can hear it out in the parking lot. This Sound Masking machine should be outlawed. I hope it's a fad and goes out of style. Yes, the News Media should be made aware. The authorities should stop it. But, if they can not hear it, they will not help. That's why a noise meter that measures Bass frequency is needed (18-25 db). By the way, Bass makes you deaf. My recent visit with my ENT Doctor confirmed with new hearing tests that I have hearing loss compared to tests I took last year - thanks to my neighbor. Take care.

Dec 01, 2014
Power Line communication on Smart Grid Is Cause of the Noise Pollution NEW
by: Sandaura

Please go to www.sandaura.wordpress.com to learn more about the Noise you are hearing.

Removing a smart meter which is contributing to the cause of the noise and negative symptoms will not stop the noise if the meter is removed from your home. The Noise is radiating on the power lines; that is why it is heard inside and outside your environment. Isolated cases of the hum may have been impart due to power grid issues. the reason people are hearing it everywhere is because of the power line communication which was implemented to manage data which needs two way communication on the lines. PLC was experimented with in the past and used, but it was always one direction and not with pulsed RF signals. it is a well known fact that BPL and PLC are very challenging to control because of the noise this technology creates on the lines.

Dec 17, 2014
Tracking to the source? NEW
by: Kyle

I started to hear a low humming sound about a month ago, coincidentally right after SCE company changed to smart meters in my area. However, I can only hear the humming sound indoor. The meter doesn't make any humming sound when I listen to it closely. Does anyone know of a low-frequency sound detector that can be used to follow to the source of this annoying humming sound?

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