What's become known as the "Mysterious Hum" -- anunrelenting rumble that has driven citizens of Taos, NewMexico and Kokomo, Indiana, absolutely nuts -- has nowarrived in Victoria, Canada.
It's been described as sounding like the low rumble of adiesel engine. Many people blame it for chronic headaches,nausea, insomnia, diarrhea, fatigue and joint pain. "It'shard to sustain an effort against the unknown," says BernardMcCarron, a retired high school English teacher who startedhearing the hum in 1996.
He started an organization of fellow harried citizens in1997 to try and find out what?s causing the noise. It hasbetween 20 and 40 members at a time, but McCarron thinkslots more people are bothered by the hum, but don't comeforward for fear of being considered crazy.
They have been checked out by doctors, who have ruled outtinnitis, which causes a ringing in the ears. No otherexplanations have been found.
McCarron is hoping a new study commissioned by the citycouncil of Kokomo, Indiana, will find the source of the hum.Sufferers in that city of 47,000 have been complaining foryears about a similar sound. The study, which will cost$100,000 and begin in the fall, will measure the sound wavesin homes of people who complain about the hum.
One Canadian resident has already started her own study inher home. Evelyn Hartley began hearing the hum in 1994. Whenshe complained to the city, they measured the sound levelsin her home. A low decibel sound was detected, but theydon?t know where it?s coming from, since low-frequency soundcan travel long distances through materials such as waterpipes. They never found the source of the hum.
The noise in Hartley's home fluctuates between 60 and 80decibels, which is the same noise level produced by an airconditioner or average city traffic. But because Hartley'snoise is registered in low-frequency sound waves, it fallsbelow the level that many people can hear easily, which iswhy some people don?t notice it, while it drives otherpeople crazy. But the stress on the body caused by theconstant sound, even if it?s unheard, can cause illness."All I know for sure is that some people may be getting sickfrom it and they would never know," Hartley says.
Hartley can?t sleep at night because the hum is so loud. Shekeeps her radio and television on all the time to drown itout but sometimes it gets so loud that she?s forced to sleepin her car. She says, ?It?s a hidden misery and no one seemsto be paying much attention to it."
To read about other mysteryhums,clickhere and here.
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