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Do You Notice A Hum?
updated: Feb 25, 2014, 8:30 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Informal Survey to pinpoint source and solutions: Are you noticing a constant low pulsating hum in your home or business in the Goleta-Noleta area-roughly Los Carneros to Turnpike, Foothills to the Ocean or other areas? Please provide useful information such as approximate location, when first noticed, at what times noticeable. Thank you so much.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 497566 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:36 AM

My house makes a lot of sounds being 100years old but I noticed a new hum when I started using energy saving lightbulbs.


 COMMENT 497572P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:41 AM

I live by Foothill School and have not noticed it. Of course with our fridge and furnace running almost all the time it would be hard to distinguish one from the other.


 COMMENT 497581 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:54 AM

A good amount of CFL energy saving light bulbs will hum or make a buzzing noise. Consider an upgrade to LED or for an an easier fix, change to standard light bulbs.

Hope this helps!

Gil's Electrical Service Inc.
805 358 5330


 COMMENT 497585 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:04 AM

We live off of Cathedral Oaks by 101 and I hear a low pulsing hum, especially early in the morning. There are also vibrations during the day that can't be tied to an appliance.


 COMMENT 497589 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:15 AM

Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some patients, it takes the form of a high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, tinging or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, "crickets" or "tree frogs" or "locusts (cicadas)", tunes, songs, beeping, sizzling, sounds that slightly resemble human voices or even a pure steady tone like that heard during a hearing test, and in some cases, pressure changes from the interior ear. It has also been described as a "whooshing" sound because of acute muscle spasms, as of wind or waves.Tinnitus can be intermittent, or it can be continuous, in which case it can be the cause of great distress. In some individuals, the intensity can be changed by shoulder, head, tongue, jaw, or eye movements.


 COMMENT 497594P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:23 AM

I've shut my power off before to see if the hum would go away. It did not. All I can think of is that there are water pump substations all around that might be making the noise.

We are near Cathedral Oaks and 154. The power lines are above ground here. Maybe it is transformer noise.


 COMMENT 497595 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:24 AM

I second 585. I live in the same area. Just about every morning there is a low frequency noise that is annoying. Sounds like a big truck is idling outside but there's no truck.


 COMMENT 497596P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:25 AM

I use CFL and do not hear any hum or buzzing sounds. I would never resort to standard bulbs, because they wear out faster and waste a lot of energy.


 COMMENT 497602 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:30 AM

I have heard it for the last few years. It can get really loud,even keep you awake. It's a low, deep, uneven but regular pulse... easiest to hear in the early morning 5 - 7 am and later at night. (maybe just cause traffic and city noises drop) Weekends included. But sometimes it just stops. I called the city to see if it was work on 101, So. Cal Edison to check transformers, and Cox. I walked the streets early morning and couldn't find the source. Louder on foggy days. I am off Anapamu/Olive, by SBHS.


 COMMENT 497606 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:33 AM

Same for me, 596P. No sounds from the bulbs. I live downtown and can hear a pulsating hum frequently at night when lights are all out and TV and other "noisemakers" are off


 COMMENT 497612 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:39 AM

fog/moisture on powerlines?


 COMMENT 497615 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:46 AM

Do you notice it in the middle of the night? That's when there is less power flowing on the grid and less ambient noises to mask any sound it might produce.


 COMMENT 497621 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 09:55 AM

Probably part of the "World Hum. This excerpt from one of the many articles on the internet:

"Most researchers investigating the Hum express some confidence that the phenomenon is real.In one instance, Leventhall was able to trace the noise to a neighboring building's central heating unit.
Other suspected sources include high-pressure gas lines, electrical power lines, wireless communication devices or other sources. There's some speculation that the Hum could be the result of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, audible only to some people. Medical experts are quick to point out that tinnitus (the perception of sound when no external noise is present) is a likely cause, but repeated testing has found that many hearers have normal hearing and no occurrences of tinnitus.
Environmental factors have also been blamed, including seismic activity such as microseisms — very faint, low-frequency earth tremors that can be generated by the action of ocean waves..."


 COMMENT 497630 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:07 AM

It has nothing to do with electricity and everything about nature: The Birds!!! Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


 COMMENT 497631 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:10 AM

The sounds are likely emanating from the extensive installations and facilities underneath parts of downtown Santa Barbara. Induced hum and vibrations through pipes and other infrastructure can cause standing waves which can be heard in some places, or are inaudible in others on account of phase cancellation.


 COMMENT 497634 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:16 AM

Does it only happen during cold weather? Agricultural wind machines in the area generating rumbles and ground vibrations?


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:30 AM

Out in Winchester Canyon, I do not hear the pulsating hum you are describing. However, I do hear a constant background noise (low hum) all the time, except for when the power goes out. When the power goes out, the background noise disappears. My neighbors to both sides and I can all feel and hear the difference when there is a power outage. It's like one layer of almost imperceptible irritation has been eliminated.

Our utility lines to our homes are underground here, but some high voltage lines flank the neighborhood, and we can definitely hear them buzzing and crackling on foggy days. Modern civilization with electricity, natural gas, piped in water, and piped out sewage -- not to mention constant vehicular traffic, and fairly densely packed neighbors -- is pretty noisy. (My Goleta neighborhood is a very quiet neighborhood by most standards. I live off the grid, far from other people part of the year, and I can definitely hear and feel the difference between there and here.)


 COMMENT 497641 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:31 AM

I remember in the 90's Unsolved Mysteries (with Robert Stack) did an episode about that. It was interesting and somewhat unsettling with some of the theories that were presented...Don't bother You Tubing it as those old clips are VERY hard to find unless you own the dvd's. Maybe if one of our fellow Edhatters has that episode s/he can upload it. It aired on May 19th, 1995. Aside from that, I have traveled Cathedral Oaks many times with my sun roof open and often hear a buzzing but I think it is coming from the power lines. However, I only hear it occasionally.


 COMMENT 497645 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:35 AM

I don't hear anything once I put my tinfoil hat on. Sorry for the cheap joke, I actually find this topic to be interesting.


 COMMENT 497651 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:54 AM

I was 4 years old when I heard the funniest joke of my life: why do hummingbirds hum? C'mon , someone give the answer so I can giggle.


 COMMENT 497653 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:58 AM

Hearing low frequency hum or rumble couple times a day for last couple weeks, different locations around town, and different times of day. This is a worldwide phenomena; had forgotten about it until noticing it recently.



 COMMENT 497655 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:05 AM

it's those invisable drones that the government has. honest, i've seen one !!!


 COMMENT 497656P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:06 AM

Not hearing it here near Dos Pueblos HS. However, for years I do hear in the very early morning a low rumble, somewhat pulsating, which causes the windows to vibrate - it will keep me awake. I recall that the people who live in the trailer park off Ward Drive deal with a lot of vibration from the gas facility there.


 COMMENT 497665 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:20 AM

they're coming to take me away..oh my!


 COMMENT 497666 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:24 AM

651 - Because they don't know the words!


 COMMENT 497668 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:31 AM

I have tintinus, we have the new light bulbs, and I can tell the difference between them and the low pulsating hum. No one could mistake one sound for the other. (Cathedral Oaks and 154)


 COMMENT 497678 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 11:54 AM

I turned off all the power to my house, still felt/heard it- and I do not have ear trouble. Really not funny. This stuff has been used to change brain waves. It should be investigated, but would need special equipment to register. It's an environmental/health concern and should be checked by the city before it's traced and litigations start. The Tin Hat comments only show a lack of knowledge of science.


 COMMENT 497681P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 12:13 PM

Actually, it's the brain wave comments that show a lack of understanding.


 COMMENT 497687 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 12:47 PM

If it is that widespread then it is likely due to the recent HAARP testing?


 COMMENT 497707 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 01:56 PM

Love the hummingbird joke. Never heard it before. Now all my friends will.


 COMMENT 497712 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:14 PM

There has been quite a lot of rumbling earthmover noises in the Turnpike/Cath. Oaks/Cervato Way area for the last month and a half. Since it was continuing on and on- even on Saturday and Sundays, we finally tracked it down to a contractor/owner who seems to be completely changing the topography of the property he purchased. We are beginning to think he is using his new acre as a training ground for his heavy equipment drivers! Doubtful that would be vibrating you all the way out to Los Carneros, but sound is a funny thing. It is always such a relief when this guy takes a day off!


 CHUM agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 02:24 PM

I'm near Cathedral Oaks, between Fairview and Patterson. I hear a very faint low hum only at night when I'm trying to go to sleep. The noise is so quiet that when I move my head on the pillow, or rustle the blankets, I can't hear it. Only when I'm completely still do I hear the hum. This has been going on for quite some time. I must admit, it doesn't really bother me.


 COMMENT 497771P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 06:01 PM

Well, at least we had a couple of days without loony remarks.


 COMMENT 497772 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 06:20 PM

I feel the vibration after the train goes by, and I'm 3 blocks from the tracks. When I first moved-in to this 2-story Condo, I was always complaining about that vibration at night, but nobody else felt it and they thought I was going CRAZY!!! Eventually, I figured it out, but it still annoys me.

Yes, I have a lot of humming noise here, mostly from electronics etc. It was nice & quiet when we lost power for 24hrs.....


 COMMENT 497793 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 07:58 PM

Yes, and it gets louder at night. Power lines, transformers and street lights are usually the source of the hum.


 COMMENT 497835P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 06:43 AM

Love the tin hat and hummingbird joke. What a fun way to start the morning. :-)


 LEAHKING agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:14 AM

i was having lunch at the montecito inn cafe a couple of sundays ago and heard a low irritating hum as we parked in the back parking lot. great restaurant and hotel but would never stay there if that noise is constant. extremely irritating.


 COMMENT 497849 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:28 AM

Humming is not uncommon from above ground electric transmission facilities, i.e. power lines, insulators, transformers, etc. They do seem louder on foggy days either because the moisture increases the sound at it's source or moist air transmits the sound better. In the home, electrical appliances often produce a humming sound. Light switches, particularly those with a rheostat, (dimmer) will often hum if they are not turned off completely. I have noticed in driving around the areas mentioned in this article that there is a great deal of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) in many locations, suggesting the lines carrying higher voltages are radiating fields of energy that will disrupt the signals on one's automobile radio. The route from Patterson to Turnpike along Cathedral Oaks and down both Turnpike and Patterson to Calle Real are really bad.


 COMMENT 497853P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:42 AM

Check out idling train engines at Goleta stop overnight...


 COMMENT 497872 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 08:40 AM

It stopped when the power went out, soooo peaceful and calm, when power was back up you could hear the hum getting louder and then evening off to a constant buzz.


 COMMENT 497874P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 08:42 AM

I hear a low noise when trying to fall asleep at night. I think it is the freeway sound. I live about 1-2 miles from 101 and don't notice it when I am awake, but it seems much louder at night, when other sounds are gone. Also, maybe there are more trucks at night?


 COMMENT 498032 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 02:13 PM

I live about 6 blocks from the freeway and have woken up in the early morning by a vibrating coming up through the floor and walls. It felt like a flashback to one of those vibrating beds in a 70's hotel. It doesn't happen every day, so I am inclined to think it is from the the city cleaning the water and sewer lines.


 COMMENT 498131 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:03 PM

I live in area betweeen Turnpike and Patterson, Cathedral Oaks and 101. Have noticed very low rumbling sounds for 30 to 60 minutes, often at about 11:30 at night. Suspect it is locomotive idling on siding, waiting for tracks to clear. Sound changes to higher tone before going away, so is probably when it revs up to drive away. Used to have one 100 times closer in Harbor district near terminal. It drove me crazy at night, had to move.


 COMMENT 498357 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 01:00 PM

131 - That's what I thought it was, a train on the sidetrack waiting for another train to pass by. But I have noticed I hear it at varying times. So glad to hear I am not the only one hearing this!


 COMMENT 571777 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-11-23 08:36 AM

I am hearing the hum again in the last couple of days - live just north of sycamore canyon at edge of sba & Montecito. It's not the noise from overhead power lines. It's a deep vibrational hum - kind of like if I'm in living room & fridge kicks on - except this has no obvious source & is super annoying. Constant. Hard to sleep!


 COMMENT 683890 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-02-05 12:06 PM

I live around Cathedral Oaks and Cambridge. I have not commented on this forum before although I have wanted to for some time. I have heard this low frequency diesel generator sound since May of 2013. I have lost an incredible amount of sleep time to this infuriating sound. It is the very worst between the hours of 2-5 am. I have shut off the electrical main several times to track the sound. I have had all utility companies out to track it....nothing makes it go away. A fan will help phase out the sound. I have spoken with geologists, audiologists, and neighbors. It is bizarre because only a fraction of people hear it. My husband does not hear it even when it is seems at its loudest. Sometimes it will go on for months with no respite. I am a healthy adult and had my ears checked. I have normal hearing. How to stop it? So now I have stood up to be counted:)


 COMMENT 710412P agree helpful negative off topic

2016-06-15 09:55 PM

I have been hearing the hum since mid March this year. It is loudest at night and often wakes me up around 3 am. Its a constant low humming sound. I have unplugged all electrical devices and still hear the hum. I have wandered around outside my apartment on Bath St and still haven't found the source. It does seem to be the loudest inside.


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