OT -The Hum

What is polygonum doing posting at this silly time? Well – I can't get back to sleep because of a noise. For some time now (at least months) I have been noticing a strange noise. Searching around, one the better descriptions appears on Wiki:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum>
For a moment, I think it is a distant aircraft – which I expect to get louder and then fade away – but it just continues.
For a while I think it is the fridge or the freezer – but investigation, even switching them off, doesn’t change the sound. Or the central heating. Or the gas or electric meters. Or the router. Or the printer. Or the ioniser. Or the clock on the oven.
For even longer I traipse round the house expecting it to be louder in one room than another. And maybe it is a little. But I hear it everywhere and am never sure whether variations are me or it.
For a bit longer I try to convince myself that it is a bass component to my tinnitus. But I cannot do so. It reduces immediately I go outside and starts up again the moment I come back inside.
Any foreground sounds are enough to knock the hum out. But the moment the environment is quiet again it returns.
Sometimes I can go without hearing the hum for hours – maybe days. (Funny, you really notice it is there but not when it disappears so it is difficult to keep track of.)
Oh – and partner never hears the hum. In every other way we seem to have very similar sensitivity to sounds so I am constantly surprised that she cannot hear it at all. Ever.
Every other sound I hear I feel I can interpret – at least if they go on long enough. I hear washing machines, lawn mowers, cars, aircraft, birds, rain, wind, cats, CFLs, hum from battery chargers, and on and on. This is the only thing that completely defeats me.
Any ideas?
A tired, sleepy polygonum.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum>

<snip>
It's the blood inside yer head................
Lobotomy would cure it.
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RW wrote:

And in the spirit of uk.d-i-y I would wish to follow the great Phnieas Gauge [1] in doing my own. But homemade explosives are somewhat frowned on in the UK these days. Especially in High Wycombe. So I guess is it is the Bosch [2] with a hole cutter to get started...
[1] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage> [2] <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7308077.stm
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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Angle Grinder
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I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.
--
Frank Erskine

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wrote:
[snip]
House mains electricity?
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Geoff wrote:

Actually it was in oart the fact of the power cut on Tuesday that triggered my post. I was sitting here thinking that if there was a power cut now, I would be able to categorically eliminate that. But, in truth, I am as sure as I can be that it is not.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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Rod wrote:

Easy enough to eliminate without waiting for a powercut though. Just turn it off.
Have you thought about noises from the pipework? Occasionally a ballcock can cause groaning noises. Try turning off your water. While you at it, turn the gas off as well, then you'll have eliminated all the services. ;-)
Tim
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Rod wrote:

Flick the whole electricity system off.
That will at least identify whether it is something electrical on your circuit.
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Rod wrote:

A few months ago I was trying to trace the source of some interference to MW radio. Being unable to locate a source indoors or nearby outside, I turned the electricity off at the main switch. What surprised me was how 'dead' the house was with no electicity, although there were no pervasive noises before doing so. Perhaps next time you're awake with this problem, just kill the mains and see what happens. At least it will tell you if the problem lies in your own home....
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As others have said, first kill your entire house by knocking off the main trip switch on your consumer unit. The only place within your house that any hum could then be coming from, is the electricity meter. With no current being drawn through it, it is highly unlikely that it could be that, however, it *is* inside your house (or garage or in its lttle box on the wall outside), and it *is* the very first thing on your property's circuit.
If killing the whole consumer unit gets rid of the noise, you then need to isolate each individual circuit i.e. upstairs ring, downstairs ring, upstairs lights, downstairs lights, cooker, immersion heater and so on, by popping breakers or pulling fuses one at a time.
Sources of hum are anything with a mains transformer in, or anything with a motor in. Occasionally, heater elements will hum as the resistance wire inside 'rattles' at 50Hz due to the magnetic field that is generated by the passage of current through the element, interacting with the element sheathing or mounting. Hence why your toaster hums.
Candidates might be something in the loft that you've forgotton about - a TV distribution amplifier perhaps - an immersion heater, an electromechanical timeclock for central heating, a transformer within the central heating boiler that's part of the power supply for its control electronics, the power supply for a cordless phone or answer machine, even a lightbulb can sometimes hum.
By applying a logical approach to the problem, it shouldn't be that hard to track down. Good luck with it !
Arfa
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Arfa Daily wrote:

Drat - I thought the night storage heaters were supposed to be connected before the meter. That's what the man at the pub told me when he connected them up. Isn't that what is economical about Economy 7? :-)
I shall try switching off at a convenient time. One of the problems is that the sound comes and goes - sometimes just a few minutes at a time, sometimes hour after weary hour. So even if I can't hear it, doesn't mean it ain't coming back. :-(
Although I have a lousy sense of pitch, I get the feeling, like in the Wiki article where they mention 56 Hz, that the sound is just a touch higher than 50 Hz. (Perhaps the grid people are trying to recover the hertzes they lost on Tuesday?)
Thank you for all the responses.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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I'll be keeping tabs on this thread - my hum is outside. I've traipsed the streets at night and the hum always seems to be just around the corner, once I get around the corner it seems to be coming from the next corner and so on - I'll end up at Lands End eventually. The Missus sometimes claims that she hears it but is well able to sleep through it so I suffer alone mostly. Franko.
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Franko wrote:

50hz type sounds are notoriously difficult to locate with the ears.
It could be that there is substation humming away gently in the neighborhood. I used to get a faint crackly hum off 11KV overheads across the garden, as well as the pole mounted 'substation' feeding teh house.
50hz is also not far off room resonances for some rooms. My small bathroom with an extractor fan, drives me nuts: there is one place where phase cancellation happens, but its JUST too far out of the bath level to read a book in comfort. :-(
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I do keep feeling that there is a complex interference pattern involved - the loudness seems to vary as I cross a room. We do have a small substation thing quite close by - but I have gone there many times and not noticed anything at all.
A few years ago the neighbour's water stopcock made a horrendous din which came right into our house. But that was relavtively easy to identify.
My gut feeling is something to do with neighbours - meter, water pump, anything!
--
Rod

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I've been pondering this while cutting back a blown-over, huge, eglantine. If your house is connected to your neighbour's that's likely. Ask them to kill their power supply for a short time.
Mary
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Rod wrote:

Thats may well be the case..it may be that your room is effectvely a 50hz resonator and is picking it up through maybe ground vibrations.

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I remember reading about this in the press around 1970, so not a new thing !...
--
Tony Sayer



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On Thu, 29 May 2008 05:46:24 +0100, Rod wrote:

<snip>
It may be an idea to check with your neighbour if you live in an adjoining house. Sometimes something like a bell transformer can do similar things if it is screwed to the other side of a wall. The wall acts as a sounding board.
--
Mick (Working in a M$-free zone!)
Web: http://www.nascom.info http://mixpix.batcave.net
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I fear it may be tinnitus related - as you will know, changes in background noise and acoustics (eg out and inside) can change the perception of tinnitus markedly. I had tinnitus for a while (year or so) and it's sh*t. Mine was a ~2kHz tone though, so easy to be sure it wasn't other things. Fortunately my condition arrested and the tinnitus went in the end although I am left with some conductive hearing loss. The Wikipedia article referenced mentions this explanation. A decent set of ear defenders would rule out air borne noise, at least, if the hum is still present.
--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)> --
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