Skip navigation

Finding the source of the ‘Windsor hum’

Researchers from University of Windsor and Western University received funding to locate the disruptive sound.


Two university researchers have been pulled into action to pinpoint the source of a mysterious humming noise that has disrupted the lives of west-end residents of Windsor, Ontario over the past two years.

“Hopefully we can find what the source is and do something to rectify it,” says Colin Novak, a University of Windsor engineering professor who specializes in noise, vibration and acoustic measurement. He’ll be joined in the hunt by Peter Brown, a physics professor at Western University. The two were provided with $60,000 in funding by the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to conduct their search.

Dr. Novak plans to install low-frequency noise monitoring stations near the presumed source of the hum, which is a heavily industrialized island in the Detroit River on the U.S. side of the border. The devices will remain in location for up to five months, constantly recording noise and alerting Dr. Novak via email whenever they pick up anything within the frequency range the researchers suspect the hum is in.

Once the source of the hum is located, the researchers hope to characterize the sound through a process called spacial filtering to figure out what is causing the noise.

Other stories that might be of interest:

Post a comment
University Affairs moderates all comments according to the following guidelines. If approved, comments generally appear within one business day. We may republish particularly insightful remarks in our print edition or elsewhere.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Amy Aponte / July 26, 2013 at 19:11

    I live in the USA, but thought I would share in the chance it might be helpful. I live in North Florida, USA and I began hearing/experiencing the hum you are researching during January of 2011. Like others it about drove me crazy, is louder at night, is more audible indoors, and I also had nose bleeds and headaches. At one point it was so intense that I went deaf in one ear. I have also noted a subtle vibration in the ground. I have a friend who noted the sound when visiting. Some aspects that may be relevent: I live in an area that is Karst with many sink holes. We also live above a very large cavern system and two wind farms are within 25 miles of our location. I have learned to cope by leaving either the TV, music, or a fan on at all times. At least the electric company is happy. :-/ I will be happy to provide any information that might be helpful to your study.

Click to fill out a quick survey