Low Frequency Hum - Industrial Noise?

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Sleepless in Chelmsford

Tewksbury, MA

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#1
Mar 30, 2010
 
I live on Dartmouth St in North Chelmsford and have been hearing a low frequency hum off and on for a long time. It's been constant for the last week or so to the point where I'm unable to sleep.
In the past I've identified a similar sound as being caused by a diesel train idling on the tracks near my house. This noise seems to be similar but a different source (I don't see any trains).
Outside the noise is barely audible and it's difficult to pinpoint. In my house, where the walls mask the ambient noise of wind and traffic, the sound is much louder, and particularly loud in the basement. This doesn't seem to be related to anything in my house, as I've completely cut all power and the noise persists.
Ear plugs acyaully make it worse... anything that cuts out external sounds seems to amplify the noise. Not only can I hear it, I can actually feel the vibration somewhat on the back of my neck, similar to being near a powerful motor or speaker.
I have heard of a phenomena called "The Hum" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum ) which sounds similar, but I think this is likely heavy machinery, industrial equipment, or some kind of transformer or power station. Low frequency sounds can carry a long way through the ground so I can't even guess how far away the source might be.
The sound is very disruptive, but so low-pitched that I suspect that other people may not hear it unless their houses amplify the effect. Fortunately I've had someone verify that they hear it too...
Does anyone of a way to identify the source of the sound? Or have you heard of similar complaints in the area? Who would I talk to about this... is there soemone in Town Hall I can file a complaint with?
Any thoughts or information on this would be greatly appreciated. It's actually to the point where I'm seriously considering renting or selling my house so I can get away from the noise.
Thanks.
Steve Liebig

Seattle, WA

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#2
Jul 6, 2010
 
Dear Friend,

I'm in Seattle, WA. I used to live in Bend, OR.

At my Bend home, I continuously experienced a sound like you describe. I had similar reactions--trouble sleeping etc. While I attributed it to industrial fans in a nearby (1/2 mile) factory, I was never able to confirm it for the reasons you mention. The low hum is MORE audible, the more protected you are from "typical" noise. Like you, I had the same experience regarding ear plugs.

In my Seattle home, I experience such a hum, intermittently. It occurs a few nights per week. Again, the source is maddeningly difficult to identify and the greater the insulation from noise--inside my home, with ear plugs and a pillow over my head--the more audible the hum.

I write to tell you that you are not crazy.

I have even experienced this type of noise in wilderness situations--literally days into wilderness river canyons. I refer to it as "industrial hum" because I suspect industrial machinery--an exhaust fan or the like--is the source, though I don't know for sure.

I'm confident you've had similar interactions with others. People will suggest that it's traffic noise, that they can't hear it, that it's something in your home. Frustrating, those conversations. I was relieved to read that someone else in your home--or area--had experienced the hum. It's nice not to be alone in this kind of thing.

My sensitivity to this kind of noise has led me to considering the "acoustical commons". You're familiar with the notion of the commons--public spaces or resources to which each citizen has access. No citizen has the right to dominate or degrade the shared resource.

There is ubiquitous disregard for the commons in most modern societies. Commercial interests (largely) regularly dominate and degrade land, air and water resources that are part of our shared resources. Similarly, as evidenced by "industrial hum", the acoustical commons (the common resource of quiet) is being degraded. It should not be allowed, frankly. Intrusion is not a right. Nor should intrusion be considered a privilege unless an off-setting benefit occurs.

I wish you luck identifying the source of the hum and eliminating the noise.

Steve Liebig
Seattle, WA
myfriendsteve@hotmail.com
yooper in da northwoods

Marquette, MI

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#3
Sep 10, 2010
 
I hear it. It's getting louder. I live near the former ELF site. I think it's the same kind of thing, some kind of military communication. It is maddening, really feels like the ultimate invasion of privacy. No peace. Just a hum. so loud, I'm starting to hear it over other noises in the house or outside, like blowing leaves, waves, etc.
santa barbara

Solvang, CA

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#4
Jan 8, 2011
 
me too.. . ear plugs make it worse. I've found that playing a pink noise CD and wearing ear plugs effectively masks the sound. . .
Renee

Watertown, NY

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#5
Mar 7, 2011
 
So What now? I am taking my husband to yet another ear doctor. The Hum is driving him crazy. Doctors look at him like he's crazy, although we walk through their doors with documented facts of low frequency and infrasound being bothersome to some - they have no conclusion to stopping it or helping my husband just not hear it. Industrial. We're pretty sure. I am not affected, but Iv'e done enough research to be afraid. What now?
Steve from CT

Brookfield, CT

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#6
Apr 4, 2011
 
Oh boy, another site with more sufferers. I will plot the approx locations Topix has under the names, they seem close enough to check if you are within 10 or 20 miles of a HP gas pipeline. These operators has changed the way they operate in the last 4 years as directed by your gov't FERC. Causing LF noise to radiate from them thru the ground to your home and even inside a parked car. Our problem in westren CT started when the lines coming over from NY/ Boston passing thru CT to LI had major changes done to them like increasing pressure, more compressors, etc. Stared here in Brookfield CT in Sept 2009. I assume sounds like a diesel idleing, may change pitch a bit, floors have a tingly vibration, hear it inside always, not very often outside? There are literally thousands of these reports over the last decade with it worsening.
Mark in Cranbury NJ

Perth Amboy, NJ

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#7
Jun 18, 2011
 
I hear it mostly in the winter when the leaves have fallen. Its more noticeable during the afternoon and evening/night hours. I have tried to track it down to a specific location but am unable to do so. Here in central NJ the hum has only become apparent in the last couple of years.
Renee

Watertown, NY

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#8
Jun 18, 2011
 
The Hum has agitated to the point that we spent our savings on the rental of a human vibration meter. YES!. There are strong vibrations documented on our reports. Can't get anyone to do anything even with documentation. About the only thing that happens is a cop shows up from time to time to make sure no one here is a looney.
Steve from CT

Brookfield, CT

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#9
Jun 28, 2011
 
It is funny we're posting on a Boston area site. But this is ok, there is a large site called yahoo Hum forum.

There is a guy from massena by the name of darrell posting elsewhere, who seems to have a good find tied into operations of a plant up there when the St Law is low. I also think the Iroquois gas line up there is a problem. I am fighting to get this into the papers in CT, as withyou the feds, state gov't and energy agencies don't want to accept this dammed fact of a serious problem. Which BTW is likely causing teh bat and bee decline in areas, as well as other things. CONTACT your congressman and NYDEC
Renee

Watertown, NY

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#10
Jun 29, 2011
 
We have contacted DEC, Congressmen, Code Inspectors, OSHA - you name them - we've not only talked to them but also have sent them all the literature we've come up with. The Human Vibration meter was a last resort ( and not cheap). Even now, when a precision device to measure such, indicates a vibration, they still either do not understand OR already know and do not intend to bother with the source of the problem.(politics?) The next step I think is to take the 3 day course for self proclaimed Industrial Hygienist and force upgrades on all Industry. We are aware there are times when it's hard to get a persons understanding - when their Salary depends on them NOT understanding, but again, shouldn't the people with the ABILITY to help - have the RESPONSIBILITY to help?
flippydeedoo

United States

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#11
Jul 2, 2011
 
Steve from CT

Brookfield, CT

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#12
Jul 3, 2011
 

Judged:

1

Renee- you are right on the money. After almost 2 years of trying to work FERC, EPA, congresman, sentor, etc., we have gotten attention, but no action. So in teh next few weeks stay in tune with the CT newspapaers for what will be getting the genie out of teh box. And those that have stuck their heads int eh sand, will have to pull them out. especially if we can get this out nationally.

Most of teh HUM cases are increasingly getting worse as the natural gas pipelines change their SOP's to accomodate the high demand for new gas use. I really do not try to convice those of other theories, mostly the HAARP and Electric folks. But the proof and all teh study work done, unequivically shows the lines are the casue and teh geology of an area can accentuate the problem. This industry has gone under the radar of control and they are now in trouble, regardless of their ads and bullshit. we need energy develop for sure, but between us humans and the wildlife impacts, without them admitting and understanding what's going on, the clean future will be our demise.
Renee

Watertown, NY

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#13
Dec 29, 2011
 
...again, I'm doing research this morning. Piles and piles of information that no one will acknowledge. The vibrations continue. Continue to threaten and deteriorate. Seeking a lawyer. If the government thinks it's all nonsense - then they shouldn't have a problem with a lawsuit.
Going insane in San Diego

San Diego, CA

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#14
Jan 30, 2012
 
Sleepless in Chelmsford wrote:
I live on Dartmouth St in North Chelmsford and have been hearing a low frequency hum off and on for a long time. It's been constant for the last week or so to the point where I'm unable to sleep.
In the past I've identified a similar sound as being caused by a diesel train idling on the tracks near my house. This noise seems to be similar but a different source (I don't see any trains).
Outside the noise is barely audible and it's difficult to pinpoint. In my house, where the walls mask the ambient noise of wind and traffic, the sound is much louder, and particularly loud in the basement. This doesn't seem to be related to anything in my house, as I've completely cut all power and the noise persists.
Ear plugs acyaully make it worse... anything that cuts out external sounds seems to amplify the noise. Not only can I hear it, I can actually feel the vibration somewhat on the back of my neck, similar to being near a powerful motor or speaker.
I have heard of a phenomena called "The Hum" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum ) which sounds similar, but I think this is likely heavy machinery, industrial equipment, or some kind of transformer or power station. Low frequency sounds can carry a long way through the ground so I can't even guess how far away the source might be.
The sound is very disruptive, but so low-pitched that I suspect that other people may not hear it unless their houses amplify the effect. Fortunately I've had someone verify that they hear it too...
Does anyone of a way to identify the source of the sound? Or have you heard of similar complaints in the area? Who would I talk to about this... is there soemone in Town Hall I can file a complaint with?
Any thoughts or information on this would be greatly appreciated. It's actually to the point where I'm seriously considering renting or selling my house so I can get away from the noise.
Thanks.
I live in San Diego, CA and have been hearing the low frequency sound for over a year. I am also at my wits end. Cannot sleep or work and concentrate at home. I don't know how I can measure and record the sound. Apparently, you need very specialized and sophisticated equipment which is very expensive. I would love to be able to sell my house and move but cannot afford to do so. My neighbors say they don't hear it and are starting to look at me like I am crazy. I have called county water and utilities authorities but have been ignored.
rodbrass

Moultrie, GA

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#15
Feb 18, 2012
 
I think I know it all, of course I don't. That hum like a worn ceiling fan on low. Its for real and getting louder. Got a feeling we'll know what it is soon.
Mike in silver city NM

Albuquerque, NM

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#16
Mar 23, 2012
 
I've never heard the hum in town anywhere. My only experience with the hum was on a three day solo backpack trip in the Gila Wilderness around 2005. Very quiet and literally ten miles minimum from any road, and much further from any developments. Very mountainous. In two of the three locations that I camped, I very distinctly heard a low frequency vibration as if a diesel engine idling in the distance. No specific direction - as if coming from the earth. When I got out I had to ask at the ranger station if anyone else had every heard such a thing. They said no and I think they thought the question was odd.
Humming noise in Poway CA

Poway, CA

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#17
Apr 12, 2012
 
Going insane in San Diego wrote:
<quoted text>
I live in San Diego, CA and have been hearing the low frequency sound for over a year. I am also at my wits end. Cannot sleep or work and concentrate at home. I don't know how I can measure and record the sound. Apparently, you need very specialized and sophisticated equipment which is very expensive. I would love to be able to sell my house and move but cannot afford to do so. My neighbors say they don't hear it and are starting to look at me like I am crazy. I have called county water and utilities authorities but have been ignored.
hello, Going insane in San Diego - where do you live? i live in Poway, CA 92131 and the humming noise is unbearable. im starting to wonder if this is from the sun rise powerlink transmission lines....it appears to be coming via the ground, not through the air. i dont hear it as much during the day but at night its loud.
Steve from CT

Southbury, CT

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#18
Apr 17, 2012
 

Judged:

1

Renee I am in western CT and fighting with FERC (Federal Energy Reg Commission) and willfully ignorant legislators on the same problems I believe you have. We need to get this into the news to get attention. Here, FERC and the gas transmission companies (not the local low pressure distribution companies) are at a loss to deny testing and research that it is the below ground high pressure natural gas lines.
Renee

Watertown, NY

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#20
Apr 18, 2012
 
Steve, You are right. However, we have contacted the news channels, as well as the papers and there is apparently no editor that wants to take this on. Perhaps they are scared? for some political reason? I don't know. ALSO. We recently informed our Mayor that a Vibration Meter can be rented for a week to the tune of $600 - that's all for the moment, we ask they do - and they won't. The Meter is through Larson Davis and is called a Type 1 HVM 100. If anyone else has performed any testing, I'd like to know your outcome.
Steve from CT

Southbury, CT

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#21
Apr 18, 2012
 
Renne
Yeah I know, I receive Darrells notices including the meter thing. Allot if what he is saying is supportable. The Big Engine I think is more the gas lines, of which the Iroquois line by you guys goes through my backyard in CT (hundreds of miles apart). You should particpate on the hum forum- yahoo.
Right now the hum is vibrating my ear drums and level 6-7 here in Brookfield CT.

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