Up to 4% of people are said to hear a strange low-pitched noise known as the Hum, but no source has ever been found. City life is one possible cause
Whenever I wake up it is there and it is unbelievably loud. When nobody else can hear it you think you are going nuts, and it just wears you down, says Simon Payne, 55, from Cambridgeshire. Payne is a hearer of the mysterious global phenomenon known as the Hum. I have been desperate to get away from it, so I have stayed with friends and even moved house.
The Hum is experienced as a consistent, low-pitched noise, much like the sound of a large truck idling in a nearby parking lot. Hearers tend to report experiencing it in urban areas leading some to conclude that it is, in fact, a form of noise pollution screened from most people by the general city soundscape.
It is said to cause symptoms that range from insomnia to headaches to dizziness. But because its actual source is unknown, it is impossible to discern its effects accurately.
The earliest reliable reports of the phenomenon date from the UK in the early 1970s, according to a 2004 investigation by the geoscientist David Deming, a Hum hearer himself. Deming was unable to find a source, urban or otherwise, but despite the tantalising nature of the mystery, his is one of the few formal studies that exist. Mainstream scientists, unwilling to keep company with Hum-theorising alien fanatics and conspiracy theorists, have largely avoided the topic unfortunately for those who suffer its effects.
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