Are You Kept Awake At Night By The Hum?

For the last three nights, I have been woken around 5:30 am by a hum.  On the first night, I was so convinced there was a noise indoors, that I walked around the house in the dark checking to see if there were any fridge/freezers buzzing or machines left on.


It was windy outside so I wondered if the sound was coming from the vibration of the cables crisscrossing our street.

The Husband, who I regularly drive insane with my health niggles, says it is just a new tinnitus tone and I need to stop focusing on it and switch off.

Easier said than done.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t once read about “The Bristol Hum”, a low droning noise audible at night which has been plaguing some residents since the 1970s.

Then, experts were drafted in who put The Hum down to factory noise, electricity pylons or tinnitus, although some suggested flying saucers or secret military activity. Eventually, the hum stopped as abruptly as it began, but by then there were reports of equally unidentified hums in other towns across Britain.

French scientists now say that The Hum is caused by continuous waves causing the ocean floor to vibrate – a sound which apparently only 2% of the population can detect.

That, in my case, is a theory which doesn’t, if you pardon the pun, hold any water.

Trying googling electromagnetic fields – EMF (yes I know I shouldn’t) and you’ll find loads of sites telling you how bad these are for your health.

Among the symptoms exposure to EMF is claimed to have caused are unexplained headaches, fatigue, digestive problems and sleeping disorders. Even the increase in immune deficiency disorders has been linked to EMF.

The most likely culprits for an increase in EMF exposure include wireless power meters (so-called smart meters), cell phones, cell towers, wireless routers, and cordless phones. Most of these types of technologies expose you to both electric and magnetic fields.

I have seen several reports recently in the tinnitus forums online about the negative effect smart meters and water meters have been having on the dreadful buzz sufferers have to live with 24/7.

Many of us are constantly exposed to WiFi.  Sleep problems, hypertension and depression are just three of the symptoms linked to our seeming inability these days to put our phones, PCs and tablets down.

The adoption of WiFi-based gadgets and its infiltration into many aspects of our daily lives seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut.  We want cleaner, quicker, smarter and we want it now.

But I suspect that there may be an untold price to pay in the effect of this technology on our health.

It is possible, of course, that what I have is hyperacusis – defined as a reduced tolerance to normal environmental sounds. Sufferers also struggle to deal with quick shifts in sound loudness. Hyperacusis often accompanies tinnitus.

I have, despite my hearing loss at a medium frequency, always had good hearing at low frequency.  I can hear a boiler come on a mile away and find the throb of a sound system’s bass beyond annoying.

When these machines are designed, are the engineers actually taking the noise these things generate into account?  Hair driers, coffee machines, blenders – louder seems to be better. But why?

Have we lost the ability to sit in silence?  (Those of us with tinnitus lost that ability ages ago sadly).

As for me, I am still not sure whether what I am hearing is external or a development in the musical cacophony of tinnitus sounds it is possible to experience.  It is also possible that my insomnia is caused by the menopause.

One thing is for certain, I won’t be having a smart meter, or solar panels (please stop phoning!) and I won’t be moving anywhere near a mobile phone mast or electricity pylon.

That might sound neurotic but trust me, when you feel as if you’re vibrating like a tuning fork, it makes perfect sense!

I just hope I can reclaim my sleep because if I wasn’t a ‘morning person’ before, I’m certainly not one now!

Have you experienced The Hum?


  1. Ellinor
    21 July, 2020 / 5:52 am

    I live in Sweden and have heard the Hum since about twenty years back in time. Always early in the mornings. Sometimes it is almost not noticeable and sometimes, like the last weeks, it’s really intense. I’ve learnt to ”live with it”. But since I came across this it is obvious that I, in mornings when the sound is extra loud to me, google to see if there has been any new scientific explanations of what it is that is causing this.

  2. Sarah
    11 July, 2020 / 9:57 am

    I live in Manchester and I have been awake since 5.15am due to an intermittent deep humming noise. It’s driving me insane. I have nothing plugged in in my bedroom and have no idea what the noise is. Tried to record the noise on my phone but it doesn’t pick it up.

  3. Julie Collinson
    9 July, 2020 / 3:57 pm

    The Hum is driving me mad…. no sleep for nights now, ear plugs worn but can still here it. Others say very faint but it isn’t when when I go to bed or when I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. I’ve changed bedrooms and even tried sleeping on the sofa, nothing works. I’ve unplugged everything i can and its still there, I just don’t know what to do, don’t really want to leave a radio plugged in and on all night.
    Oh and I’m in West Yorkshire.

  4. M. G.
    7 July, 2020 / 3:48 pm

    I have been hearing The Hum since 2018 and it is driving me mad. It is not just aural, I can feel it vibrating through the bed. You can hear it all over the house and it gets worse at night. It sometimes feels like pulsing in my ears – almost like changing pressure (like on plane) and can make me v. anxious. Can feel like pressure on chest at night. Council did not help. Had some kind of recording done, said something was on it when took it away, but then told us nothing could be done as the sound wasn’t loud enough to be actionable – despite fact told them it wasn’t necessarily how loud it was, but the uncomfortable physical effects. Wouldn’t let us see results, try again and were unwilling to help in any other way. I can’t help thinking they know what it might be, but it’s something they don’t want to fix because doesn’t bother everyone. During last week when was v. hot and evveryone had windows opened, was quietest ever and didn’t need earplugs. Usually, have to sleep with earplugs and/or radio on for distraction. Sound like heavy metal music or washing machine that never stops, almost felt more than heard. HELL.

  5. Eleanor
    5 July, 2020 / 8:26 am

    The hum I hear is during the day and at night – I’m the only one that can hear it. I am quite deaf and hear it clearly without aids in and also with aids in. When busy or distracted I’m not aware of it. I llive between Bristol, bath and Wells. I have wondered if it is the gas pipes which a few years ago were put on the outside of the wall when installing new boiler (wasn’t given the option of replacing them internally!). I can’t remember hearing it before that – I don’t hear it at work or at sons homes. I sometimes worry there might be an explosion but put that thought in a box.

  6. Jonathan Ferguson
    23 June, 2020 / 4:12 am

    I live in the north west of England I hear it every nite it is starting to drive me insane I can feel it through my body aswel .nobody else in my house can hear it just me

  7. sandra
    12 June, 2020 / 9:57 pm

    Turning off the wifi router didn’t work. Then a few hours later it suddenly went blissfully quiet and I thought it had gone but no such luck – it was back at about 5.30 this morning. I am getting earache too and slight headaches.

  8. S
    11 June, 2020 / 11:13 pm

    I’m in Scotland and I’ve been hearing it for the past couple of weeks now . I can almost feel it as well as hear it and I’m starting to get earache with it .

  9. Sandra
    10 June, 2020 / 3:17 pm

    I am hearing the hum! I live in south yorkshire and in the past week or so have been woken in the early hours of the morning by this low almost distant sounding hum. It goes on for several hours then suddenly stops. I wasnt sure if it was within the house so checked around, turned off the fridge/freezer which made no difference. I have even thought it was coming from next door or maybe a local electricity generator, agricultural or road works. Ive tried ear plugs but they havn’t worked. Its driving me mad, I just hope it stops soon, I may try switching off my wi fi router at night to see if this makes any difference. A neighbour has also heard it but they have tinnitus and had put it down to that until they heard that i had heard it too. Help!

  10. 7 June, 2020 / 12:21 pm

    That Humming sound comes from the underground. High pressure gaspipeline transport is vibrating in the soil . This ground vibration will resonate in homes. From about 03.00h gastransport will be on high capacity. You will find all information on the internet! All you are looking for:

  11. Raymond
    28 May, 2020 / 7:06 am

    My problem started almost a year ago .I lived in this house for 7 years no humming noise until one early morning i woke up thinking it was the bathroom extracta fan (which it wasn’t) then i put it down to my neighbour getting a fish tank and it vibration against the wall (she didn’t have one) the noise 1st lasted maybe a few hours then it would stop and not come back for some days then as the year went on its is humming more than it doesn’t now.I thought it was tinnitus ,i asked my wife could she hear it she said very slightly but it does not bother her.we stay at our friends (before the lockdown) sometimes twice a week and i could hear it there sometimes what i did notice we both live close to electric pylons and i could hear it outside near my front door.I cannot sleep it constantly wakes me and my health is suffering because of it .We ended putting the house up for sale and will be moving tomorrow ,i just hope it doesn’t follow me.

    • linda
      28 May, 2020 / 9:47 am

      Sorry to hear this, Raymond. Just to be on the safe side, have you had your doc check your ears? There is another condition called Hypercusis which is similar to Tinnitus but where the sufferer becomes extremely sensitive to noise, often at frequencies that don’t bother others – so stuff like boilers, fridges and so forth. Might be worth discounting that but I don’t doubt you are hearing something. I hope you get some peace in your new home.

  12. Shane Cherry
    25 May, 2020 / 2:56 pm

    I live on the border of East Sussex and Tunbridge Wells I heard the hum for the first time on Friday 22 May 2020
    It started around midnight and lasted an hour. My wife and I could feel the vibration and she couldn’t sleep in our room where it was loudest. Luckily we didn’t hear it since. Please email me if you Live in my area and you hear it again I really want to get to the bottom of this

  13. Suzanne
    25 May, 2020 / 7:09 am

    I was woken last night by an extremely loud pulsating base noise, the pain in my head was absolute agony! It lasted about half an hour gradually getting quieter. I live in a small town outside Bristol and I’ve heard it just like this many times over the years, never found the source!

  14. Amanda
    20 May, 2020 / 4:35 am

    I don’t have tinnitus yet I hear this ruddy humming frequently and it lasts many hours…. I would like to know how to get an investigation to this underway… I am in East Sussex and I don’t think it’s because of a volcano being born… It is too often

    • linda
      20 May, 2020 / 10:01 am

      Are there any big manufacturing plants near you? The only thing I can think is by contacting your council and reporting noise pollution but they would want you to give details which might be difficult to do! I sympathise. I’d love to know how many other people hear this.

  15. Julie
    5 May, 2020 / 9:12 am

    I love the idea of reframing it and giving it a love intent! Thank you Linda! I’ve started really noticing the hum this past week even though I’ve heard it for months now – always at night in my home, except for today when I heard it in the afternoon. My first thought when I first heard it was that it was the perceived sound of Om. This gave me peace that I could hear something like this! Lately it started to bother me, though, until I decided to Google it, and then I read your post Linda about reframing it. Now, deliberately giving it an intent of oneness, I feel at peace again. Thank you.

  16. Linda
    25 April, 2020 / 9:39 am

    Hello me again after another night of humming!
    Im here to tell you that i have reframed it,
    I am a sound healer, and one of tge oremises of usung sound to heal is that sound carries intent. Ofcoursecan electrical humhas no intent to aggravate it just does! So I have given it a healing intent. The hum is now delivering love to me. You can add whatever intent works for you.

    • linda
      25 April, 2020 / 11:41 am

      I will have to try that. The quality of my sleep during Lockdown has been appalling and I find I can’t sleep without earplugs as otherwise I focus on the drone or my Tinnitus. Hope you get some good quality sleep! x

  17. Linda
    24 April, 2020 / 11:43 am

    Omg yes!
    The only sound source i can find is the transformer in my burglar alarm.
    And it seems to resonate in the attic soace and tgen vibrate through the house and drives me mad at night. It is not any form of tinnitus because ear plugs bliock it out.
    I have now become super sensitive to sounds of that frequency, like machinary.
    I told my homeopath its like i have abee in my bonnet!
    Im a sound healer and have always heard energy, but this sound has a slow pulse that doesnt fit the rhythm of my body!
    Its driving me mad!

    18 March, 2020 / 12:19 pm

    I find the tinnitus annoying when I am trying to get off to sleep

  19. mathew
    11 March, 2020 / 9:06 am

    listen to the inner voice…