Advanced search

does anyone ever think they can 'hear' electricity?

(45 Posts)
Unacceptable Sat 26-Jan-13 03:16:06

...or am I developing tinnitus?

Sometimes, when it's late at night. Everyone tucked up in bed and I'm the only one awake I hear a sort of pulsating, humming sound.
It's hard to describe but I only really hear it when it's very late, or should that be very early, and all other things are quiet.

I asked a neighbour about this and she said she hears a similar kind of sound occasionally and always wondered if it was the sound of distant traffic (we live close to a motorway) or an overhead plane, but surely at 2am or thereabouts traffic would be fleeting and not constant.

I reckon it's probably tinnitus but as a long shot I wonder if anyone on here thinks it may be something else that I can actually hear?

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 26-Jan-13 03:22:18

High voltage lines hum but not the electricity in your home. Get your ears and brain checked out.

No, you are completely right. I do too. It is when we are in bed, and it sounds like it comes from the wall near my head - a low, thrumming sort of electricity noise. Can't really explain it properly, but sometimes it stops me sleeping. My husband claims he can't hear it though. Do you have issues with electricity generally? Street lamps turn off when I walk past quite a lot, and turn on behind me. And I am always blowing light bulbs. I wonder if maybe some people are just have unlucky electric charge...

scratchandsniff Sat 26-Jan-13 05:10:40

A friend was having a similar experience, turned out there was a mobile phone mast nearby causing it.

MammaTJ Sat 26-Jan-13 05:30:03

I hear it too. Everywhere!!!

I had a mobile phone charger that would make a high pitched hum. Drove me crazy until I worked it out. The same phone and charger went on to put an electric charge through me if I was touching the phone while it was charging.

There was a hum a couple of weeks ago, I had a thread about it. Turned out to be a broken street light.

flyingspaghetti, I get that too. Especially with computers. When I turn them on they dont start up properly most times or crash randomly. But with other people work fine!

TepidCoffee Sat 26-Jan-13 05:36:11

Do you think it's The Hum, OP?

Grumpla Sat 26-Jan-13 05:56:28

Yep. I had to change the low energy lightbulb in our room the other day because I could hear a whine coming from the fitting (even when switched off) and there is one phone charger I have banished from the bedroom because it hums / whines and keeps me awake.

My DH (who apparently has perfect hearing) thinks I am crazy.

theodorakisses Sat 26-Jan-13 05:56:29

I can hear it too, also those mouse repeller things are really loud to me, beep beep bloody beep and I think my family think I am making it up.

littlewhitebag Sat 26-Jan-13 06:05:29

I hear things like that too. The last thing that drove me mad turned out to me out fridge which emits a low level hum.

Snowydrift Sat 26-Jan-13 06:49:18

Yes! I keep unplugging the nightlight in DS's room because the transformer/plug hums. DH keeps turning it back on. Seems its only me who can hear it. Also the IL's tv. I cannot watch it, it makes a high pitched screech when it's on, but only I can hear it.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sat 26-Jan-13 07:00:07

No but I can sometimes smell it

Montybojangles Sat 26-Jan-13 07:02:05

Yes! Drives me nuts. DH doesn't hear (thinks I am nuts), but apparently women hear higher frequencies better than men. There's usually an appliance I can track down eventually to explain the noise.

manticlimactic Sat 26-Jan-13 07:25:42

It must make some sound. If I get in from work I know if my electric meter has run out I know as soon as I open the door because of the silence.

Emilythornesbff Sat 26-Jan-13 07:33:53

YANBU. Transformers emit a humming/buzzing sound. So any dimmers, for example, can be heard when the background noise has reduced.

LadyMargolotta Sat 26-Jan-13 07:37:09

YANBU. There is constant ambient white noise that we usually block out.

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Sat 26-Jan-13 07:57:49

I watched a programme a few years ago, allergic to modern life, the people featured lived in basic huts with no electricity etc. Their allergy had started by hearing electricity and getting headaches.
Apparently, scientists reckon it will be an epidemic in years to come.

Strangely, I was only thinking about this yesterday!

flow4 Sat 26-Jan-13 08:17:01

You can. The transformers inside electrical appliances and mains adaptors create a vibrating magnetic field, and many people can 'hear' or feel this.

If anyone wants a more technical explanation...
and if you don't, look away now grin

Electricity comes into our homes at 230V (assuming you're in the UK) and many electrical appliances need much less power/voltage than this to work (about 19V for this laptop, for instance). The mains power therefore needs to be 'stepped down', and our homes are full of transformers that do this.

A transformer is essentially two coils of wire wound around an iron core, and it works by creating a magnetic field, which creates an energy flow from one coil to the other. The power is stepped down if there are more loops in the 'in' coil than the 'out' one (or up, at power stations for instance, if there are more loops in the 'out' coil).

The magnetic field vibrates at 100Hz (twice the frequency of UK alternating current), and if the transformer has or is next to anything at all that moves - which they mostly do/are (the circuit board it's attached to, or its plastic casing, for instance) then that/those will vibrate at 100Hz too.

The human hearing range is approx. 20-20,000Hz, so the 'mains hum' is at the very bottom of this - but many people can hear it, and it drives some people crazy! (It used to keep me awake at night when I was younger, but I think I'm going a bit deaf now!)

You can check whether it's mains hum or tinnitus you're hearing, Unacceptable, by unplugging some stuff and seeing if the noise stops! smile

RooneyMara Sat 26-Jan-13 08:19:52

No, but when I put pressure on my ears or eyelids I can hear musical notes, you know, a hum but it's a certain note - I think I get A and E on my right ear, A flat on my left. smile

Am I weird?

AladdinOnRepeat Sat 26-Jan-13 08:34:49

Yes! I do. But no one else ever seems too, really annoys me sometimes but other times its quite comforting and helps me sleep.

Seabright Sat 26-Jan-13 08:36:51

I hear it too, adapters and plugs drive me mad.

Sadly, DP & I are like Jack Spratt & his wife - totally is matched. I have ultra-sensitive hearing, I can hear bats and the "mosquito" devises used to deter teenagers from hanging around, whereas he is deaf and needs hearing aids.

We pretty much only watch tv programmes with subtitles now (which, thankfully, most have) as we drive each other mad with the different levels we want the volume set at.

Lastofthepodpeople Sat 26-Jan-13 08:43:03

I hear it too. DH doesn't and occasionally gives me a look like this: hmm when I mention it

ModernToss Sat 26-Jan-13 09:01:07

I also hear it.

TepidCoffee Sat 26-Jan-13 10:55:27

Thank you for the explanation flow4, after reading this thread I can hear the noise from lots of appliances! I usually just tune them out.

Rooney, I get that too - and nice tessellating patterns on the inside of my eyelids at the same time.

Does anyone have that thing where you hear a noise (like a fan or a squeaky door or some such) and the pitch is obviously close/identical to a tune you know and then you get the tune stuck in your head?

plus3 Sat 26-Jan-13 11:03:33

I hear electricity noise as well - not mad! (As far as I am

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now