"The HUM", a persistent Low Frequency Noise

Posted by Soliloquized @soliloquized, Dec 28, 2019

As I sit, writing, my left ear is filled with the Classic Hum. Both my ears used to hear it, but after an ear infection in the right ear, leaving no measurable loss of hearing as determined by yearly workplace hearing tests, I no longer hear it in the right.

Certainly, others must hear it.

My wife, largely complete loss of hearing in one ear, high frequency Tinnitus in the other, and myself, excellent hearing as tested by yearly workplace physicals, started hearing the HUM on the same day, in the same location, over a decade ago. We hear it exactly the same in a number of places separated by hundreds of miles. We have experimented by asking if the other could hear the HUM, whether in certain parts of the structure we were in (home we rented in the Country, home we owned in the City) if it was louder, quieter, or audible at all, and had an extremely high degree of concurrence.

It appears to be a real world event, not Tinnitus, but IMHO, the American Medical Community is trying to pawn it off as Tinnitus. I've seen a few references to the National Institutes of Health claiming, on flimsy questionnaires sent out, that the HUM is, indeed, Tinnitus.

My wife heard it, simultaneous to me hearing it, for a decade, I still hear it, but if you mention this to doctors, they look at you like you have snakes coming out of your head. My ENT has been sick, so my appointment with him has been delayed, he's back to work but catching up. I see the ENT due to a cancerous thyroid he removed. But recently, my right ear has been acting up. It makes a spontaneous rumbling noise that I can voluntarily reproduce. But telling this to my family doctor, that I can voluntarily make this rumbling (not the HUM) and also mentioning the HUM, since I hear it in my left ear but the right ear is acting up, on both counts, I don't think he believes me, or understands. Yet, yesterday, I found an article that says that some people have voluntary control over a muscle attached to the Tympanic Membrane. That's my voluntarily induced rumbling (not HUM).

So, there are some forms of Tinnitus, "Pulsatile Tinnitus (PT) is a symptom that affects nearly five million Americans. The sensation of hearing a rhythmic noise, such as a heartbeat, swooshing or whooshing, from no external source, is, at best, a little unsettling; for many, the near constant sound exceeds annoyance and becomes completely debilitating" that can cause noises in your hearing, but decidedly is not the HUM. I'd be interested in reading what others have to say on these experiences, if you don't feel like outing yourself, you could always say a friend of yours…….

Late 60's, male. Roughly 9 months- give or take, I was under the impression the building next store to my residence had begun to leave their A/C units "on" 24/7. I was perplexed as to why they would do this as it always cooled naturally at night.
That "hum" was in no way intolerable, but I became aware of it and started closing my window to avoid being annoyed. That seemed to work for a while. Now, some 9? months later
I have become convinced this sound is not external. If I am not searching that frequency out and am consumed by a book or a movie, it is almost no-existent, I think…
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and had written down mentioning this "hum" when I thought- why not google it and see if I am alone on this. Hence- I found this site.
I was hoping against all odds this might just be a correctable entity, but I am quickly discouraging myself as I read more on this. I had heard of tinnitus but convinced myself this was not in that realm. Now…?
I can hear it as I write these words. I want to believe it will not get much more noticeable as time goes on. I would love to know more by a knowledgeable professional. Thanks for any input.


My tinnitus started when I prescribed Metoprolol for my blood pressure medication. I also read that others got it also from taking this medication. Even after quitting taking it, it hasn't gone away. Found out that it probably won't ever fully leave. Mine pretty much only annoys me when there is no background noise to take my mind off of it. So when it is quiet with no noise to drown out the noise in my ear, (left ear) I try to focus on doing other things to take my mind off of that sound. There definitely needs to be a cure found for this affliction. Your not alone in this.


Tinnitus is very common. Like sensorineural hearing loss, it is often caused by exposure to excess noise. That noise can be something immediate, like an explosion or something that has been present in your life for a long time like working in an environment with a lot of constant background noise. Loud music is often a cause. So is hunting, serving in a military combat zone, etc. This is why ear protectors are so important.

Reality is…it often will change in 'tone' or soften over time, but once you have it, it's probably going to stay. The best remedy is to try to screen it out with other thoughts and sounds. The brain can do remarkable things with appropriate stress management techniques. I have had it since I was in high school. Not sure why, but I hunted with my dad a lot, and also enjoyed music. I was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss in my 20s. That has gotten worse over many years. I wore hearing aids from my mid 30s on, and now have a cochlear implant in one ear. Those technologies have kept me in the hearing mainstream.

Do get a baseline hearing test. You may not have a measurable degree of HL, which is a good thing, but know it's wise to use ear protection in noisy settings. You describe your possible 'tinnitus' as rather soft sounds, so I hope it stays that way.

Keep us posted on what you find out. Lots of research is being done on hearing, tinnitus, etc,, but it's coming rather slowly.

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