The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 January 2003

Snoozeless alarm

There is almost always something to keep me awake when I really, really need to be sleeping. Lately it's a low (below 50 Hz) rumbling that I can't localize but which definitely isn't originating within my living quarters. Obviously something somewhere besides my nerves is vibrating, but what? The upstairs flat has been vacant for two or three weeks, and if it were their heating unit, which is directly above mine, it would shut off once in a while, and even if it didn't, I should still be able to hear it more clearly from directly below, and I can't.

If it varied at all in pitch, I'd think "subwoofer," but this is pretty constant. I tell you, stuff like this will kill me even faster than work.

Posted at 12:42 AM to Dyssynergy

Maybe you're one of those people who can hear the earth's magnetic field. I saw this on some TV show. There are certain people who hear a constant low frequency hum that no one can identify. It's either power lines or electromagnetism. Either way it drives them nuts.

Posted by: Alexandra at 8:07 PM on 7 January 2003

Hmmm. And the magnetic field is supposedly migrating more than usual — perhaps in advance of reversing itself — and I get to be a canary let loose in the cave? O semi-frabjous day.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:40 PM on 7 January 2003

Well, from what you say about the frequency of the rumble I think we can rule out power lines, which would be 60 Hz.

I'll bet there's info somewhere on the web giving the frequencies of various common devices.

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at 6:29 AM on 8 January 2003

I'm pretty good at identifying 60 Hz. About twenty years ago, a rep from a speaker manufacturer, in an effort to show how sturdy his products were, took one of his pizza-sized woofers, attached a lamp cord to its terminals, and plugged it into an AC outlet, thereby producing 15 amps times 120 volts equals 1800 watts of 60-Hz hum. You don't soon forget something like that.

I'm starting to think in terms of Appliance Two Doors Down, since the sensation increases in that general direction.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:25 AM on 8 January 2003