The Bristol hum has blighted sufferers in the city for decades – but what is behind the elusive buzzing noise?
Hearing gone wrong or could sinister forces be to blame? The hum is a phenomenon that has been reported in towns and cities across the world from Canada to New Zealand. In Britain, the most famous example was the Bristol hum that made headlines in the late 1970s. One newspaper asked readers in the city: “Have you heard the Hum?” – now we want to know if you can still hear it.
The problem has persisted for years with residents complaining of sleep loss and headaches with experts claiming traffic and factories were to blame. But, according to the Low Frequency Noise Sufferers’ Association the problem is on the increase.
What could be behind the noise? Everything from gas pipes, power lines, mobile phone masts, wind farms, nuclear waste and even low-frequency submarine communications have been blamed. A vicious circle? The more people focus on the noise, the more anxious and fearful they get, the more the body responds by amplifying the sound, and that causes even more upset and distress.
At least one person in the UK has committed suicide because of the hum
“But it seems to be a kind of torture. Most people hear nothing, but to some the noise is painful, vivid and constant. It has a rhythm to it – it goes up and down. It sounds almost like a diesel car idling in the distance and you want to go and ask somebody to switch the engine off – and you can’t. When everything is quiet around, the loud noise is getting worst. It’s hard to get off to sleep because the maddening rumble is in the background and you concentrate your attention on it and thus get more and more agitated about it.
Do you suffer from the elusive Bristol Hum?
[…] the UK, the noise has been heard in Leeds, Bristol, and Largs, Scotland, but has been reported as far as Taos, New Mexico, and Auckland in New […]
I live in Downend, Bristol and have been hearing the hum for around six months now, it’s almost constant although there have been one or two days of silence. I too hear mainly at night when all else is quiet and still. I’ve checked all around the neighbourhood late at night, had my next door neighbours switch off their electricity all to no avail, I have recently ordered an extra thick, sound proof double glazed window for my bedroom, I hope it helps.
I’ve absolutely no idea where this sound eminates from and it was driving me crazy not knowing but for some strange reason now that I’ve recently found out other people can hear it too I’m not quite as bothered by it, I wear earplugs at night but I can still hear it, I can also hear it through the distant din of the m4 and ring road!
[…] Bristol, England, was one of the first places on Earth where the Hum was reported. In the 1970s, about 800 people in the coastal city reported hearing a steady thrumming sound, which was eventually blamed on vehicular traffic and local factories working 24-hour shifts. […]