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What’s the buzz? Residents fed up with strange noise in Murray Bridge’s west
Locals have complained of a mysterious sound that they wish would stop. Murray Bridge News investigates.
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Homeowners in Murray Bridge’s west say they’ve been hearing a noise at their homes in recent months.
But the question is: where’s it coming from?
Two homeowners who spoke to Murray Bridge News – but wished to remain anonymous – revealed similarities in both when the noise appeared and how it sounded.
Sarah*, who has lived in her current home for around seven years, said that she first heard the sound a few months ago after the floods had ended.
“One weekend, it was night-time, I sat down to read a book, and I thought the neighbour might have had a pump on, but it was there when I went to bed around nine o’clock, and I heard it at 4am,” she said.
Since that first night, she said, the noise had been round the clock, and one of her family members had also heard it.
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She described it as a humming noise, and Googled sources of humming noises around the home and turned off all of those mentioned, but to no avail.
“It could be described as a fridge running while you’re in the next room,” she said.
She also started using a sound-meter phone app; when she measured the sound levels at a quiet time of day, she got an average reading of just over 40 decibels.
She said the sound was so irritating that she wanted to sell her house because of it, but financially she was not in a position to do so.
“This is intrusive, as I’m a soft-spoken person who likes my peace and quiet,” she said.
“I have to sleep with ear plugs in.
“I guess like tinnitus, it drives people crazy.”
Hum-hearer is not the only one
If the source of the noise were tinnitus, it would have to be a very particular type of tinnitus that presents in different people who live in close proximity and who started hearing the same noise at the same time.
Kim* said she became aware of the noise two or three months ago.
“It’s much more evident at night when the world is quiet, and sometimes I hear it first thing in the morning as well,” she said.
“After nine or 10 at night, it becomes really evident.
“It’s a background noise … the first thing I did was went and checked the fridge because I thought there was some weird hum coming out of the electronic equipment.
“I checked the fridge, I checked the air conditioner, I went out and checked the power box … and I went outside and stood in the street because I thought some idiot’s got their air conditioner on, and it’s nothing like that.”
Because she heard the noise at around the same level whether she was inside or outside her house, she guessed the source might be electronic.
“It’s almost like there’s something around that is emanating the sound, and it needs to be turned off,” she said.
“On a really thunderstormy kind of day, sometimes you can hear the (telephone) wires humming … if the wind’s at a certain pitch, and the temperature’s right, and there are storms around … it’s the same noise.
“That’s what it feels like: that old-fashioned hum of electricity going through wires.”
Kim also said that the noise had a constant mid-frequency that didn’t deviate at all, and she agreed with Sarah that the noise was probably around 40dB.
Although Sarah couldn’t work out where the noise was coming from, she had thought about it a lot.
“Somebody might have started a hydroponic shed somewhere,” she said.
“It might be a pipe that runs to a water-processing plant or trucks going over the pipe in a road, but we don’t have any pipes in the street.
“(Or) Bunnings have massive air-conditioners on their roof – unless they have some other pump I’m not aware of.”
However, Bunnings Murray Bridge only began operating in August of last year.
Here’s what the authorities say
Murray Bridge News approached several official organisations to try and discover more information about the noise.
A representative said the Murray Bridge council had not received any complaints from residents in the area in question.
No council works or pump-outs by SA Water would be operating 24-seven, they said.
They suggested that the noise could be power-related, and wondered whether the new Bunnings building might have air conditioners or heaters that ran day and night.
Another council idea for the noise source was development work happening at nearby Tyndale Christian School, but that shouldn’t generate noise around the clock.
The Newbridge housing development is in progress nearby, but it would also be unlikely to produce construction-related noises late at night and in the very early hours of the morning.
Murray Bridge News agreed to withhold the names of the two residents at their request.