For those who can hear the Hum, it can be a very disturbing phenomenon and it has been linked to at least three suicides in the UK. 30 The people who do hear these sounds typically hear a faint buzzing or ringing, especially if they are otherwise in complete silence. ‘If the noise is everywhere, it’s probably tinnitus. ‘I Googled: Is there a Hum in Ropley? and heard about the Bristol Hum in the Seventies, when hundreds of people complained of a constant sound. It is a noise that only two per cent of people can hear, but this low droning sound would be enough to drive anyone mad. Often sufferers otherwise have perfectly normal hearing, and The Hum goes away when they leave a certain area.
Most visitors hear nothing, but to Katie the noise is painful, vivid and constant. I don’t want to move, but I have thought I may have to if I can’t find out what’s causing it. Many had lived a life of vibroacoustic agony, unsure if what they were hearing was real or not. The expansion and contraction makes a buzz. If you pumped a transformer with music, you’d be able to jam out to a fuzzy, faint, distorted version of Metallica.
When a sound enter the ear, it causes pressure fluctuations within the inner ear. Thanks to the outer hair cells, our hearing sensitivity is increased by 40-60 dB (decibels). If the humming or buzzing isn’t very loud, this is normal.