5.19.2009

X-Files 'hum' phenomenon could be over-sensitive hearing

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/5347896/X-Files-hum-phenomenon-could-be-over-sensitive-hearing.html
http://blogs.smh.com.au/science/ear.jpghttp://www.cbc.ca/gfx/photos/earth_planet.jpg
Hundreds of people worldwide say they have been plagued by a buzzing noise known as 'the hum' which featured in an episode of the sci-fi series, sparking a string of conspiracy theories[ATTENTION: The purpose of linking an observable phenomenon with a work of fiction is to discredit the observers: those that do hear 'the hum'. Sure sign of biased journalism...if not worst].
Some believe the noise comes from gas pipes, power lines, traffic, factories, pylons or mobile phone masts and the phenomenon has been reported from Vancouver in Canada to Auckland in New Zealand. Sufferers complain of sleep loss, headaches, sickness and nosebleeds.
In the 1970s it became known as the 'Bristol hum' after 800 people in the city claimed they could hear it.
But following years of research, scientists now say it is probably the result of over-sensitive hearing.[Really?? It's always us, isn't it...because there's no possible way people are actually hearing something, is there?]
Dr David Baguley, head of audiology at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, said a third of cases can be tracked down to an environmental source.
[...]
Dr Baguley claims people have an internal volume control[?!] which helps us amplify quiet sounds in times of threat, danger or intense concentration[...this is really not sticking...I wonder, how many of the affected are under 'threat', 'danger' or 'concentrated' when they begin to hear the 'hum'?].
[...]
According to Dr Baguley, the problem comes when an individual fixes on a possibly innocuous background sound, and this act of concentration then triggers the body's "internal gain"[?!], boosting the volume.
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