A mysterious humming noise which is keeping people awake at night could be down to fish making love, scientists claim.The noise, which residents say ‘pulsates’ through their homes, starts at about 10pm and carries on all night, forcing some people to move away from the area because they find it impossible to sleep. Scientists believe the noise could be being caused by fish having sex in an estuary nearby in Hythe, near Southampton in Hampshire.
Midshipman male fish let out a distinctive drone to let females know they are searching for a mate.
The noise can go on for hours and often increases in volume as competing males attempt to out-hum each other. The noise can also be amplified by the sound bouncing off buildings and ships.
The noise is famous in Seattle in Washington, USA, as Midshipman fish are believed to live in the nearby Duwamish waterway, and people living nearby in Hythe think the noise is similar.
Earlier this month New Forest District Council and the Environment Agency launched a joint investigation to identify the cause of the humming after people complained of going to the doctor to ask for sleeping tablets or because they thought they had tinnitus.
The National Oceanography Centre in Southampton was unable to shed any light on the mystery.
However, the Scottish Association for Marine Science claimed fish could be responsible for the bizarre buzzing sound.
Dr Ben Wilson said: “It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
“There are certainly ‘sonic fish’ in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel.”
New Forest District Council has received more than 30 complaints about the irritating hum from people living near the estuary, with heavy industry to tugboats and tanker ships operating out of Southampton Docks blamed.
Linda Zammit of Woolston, Southampton, said: “I thought I was going mad at first. I hear it every night unless it’s windy or raining.
“It doesn’t keep me awake but it stops me getting back to sleep if I do happen to wake up.”
Maria Dennett of Sholing, Southampton, added: “We regularly experience a humming noise at night.
“A few times we put it down to a neighbour’s washing machine or dishwasher but it’s happening so frequently that we know it’s not the case.
“It’s a really low pitched sound that literally pulsates through the house.”
This article was written for and published by the Telegraph.