Readers will know that I am cursed with super-sonic hearing when it comes to low sounds and am deaf as a post in other regards. That, combined with constant tinnitus and a touch of hyperacusis makes the audio world a bit of a nightmare.
I’ve written about the hum before – that low drone which can be heard in various parts of the UK (and, reportedly Europe) which cannot be traced to a single source. One thing is for certain, it is highly irritating to the point that some fellow sufferers actually want to move home.
And nobody seems to know what it is. The pressure of water through pipes? Fracking? Railway maintenance? 5G masts? Generators? Telephone exchanges? The list of potential culprits is endless.
Where I live I am close to a large water/sewage plant and an equally large plastics manufacturer. I live on a hill overlooking the whole village and am also close to the coast.
It has been a stressful time for me and my sleep has not been the best but, when I can hear the drone through bedroom windows with acoustic glass, I have to conclude it is not my imagination.
The problem is, though, when you hear it, it is immensely difficult not to lock into the sound and focus on it.
I have bought a Lectrofan, a neat little gadget which has both fan and white noise options and it does seem to override the drone.
Otherwise it’s back to the trusty Boots Muffles wax earplugs – still the best and cheapest option I’ve found.
The other challenge is who do you contact to track done the source of the noise? Whilst the local council has a helpful and responsive noise complaint department, unless there is a specific construction or maintenance project ongoing, they are unlikely to have much idea of the source.
And, let’s be honest, my noise nuisance is probably your gentle breeze – and vice versa.
I saw a post today on one of the bird-watching Facebook groups that a member had been approached by a neighbour as she had put bird tables in a communal garden and the dawn chorus was keeping him awake. He demanded that she take the bird tables down.
Responses varied from ‘bloody cheek of him’ to ‘well perhaps he works shifts’.
In my view she was probably on a sticky wicket since it was, after all, a communal garden for the enjoyment of everyone, but it just goes to show how opinions vary.
The truth is, as I’ve said before, silence is the new wealth and modern living is getting very loud.
Don’t worry about being seen as neurotic though. Noise can impact our stress levels and our health.
If noise is bothering you, it can’t hurt to explore your options.