A COUNCIL in Northern Ireland is to call in specialists to locate the source of a mysterious hum that is reportedly keeping residents awake at night.
Mysterious, low-frequency humming noises are a global phenomenon, having previously been reported in Taos, New Mexico in the US and in Windsor, Ontario in Canada.
However, the latest area to be stricken by 'the hum' is Omagh in Co. Tyrone.
In a statement on Wednesday, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said it had been investigating the matter but has had difficulty pinpointing the source.
'Discomfort and disruption'
The Fermanagh Herald first reported on the hum in October, saying the noise could be heard at night and was preventing residents from getting to sleep.
Stephen Donnelly, an Alliance councillor for Omagh, raised the issue at a meeting of the council's Environmental Services Committee last week.
He revealed that he had been contacted by a 'considerable number of residents in the Omagh area' about the noise, which had caused a 'significant degree of discomfort and disruption'.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle on Tuesday, he said that while the issue may sound trivial, it could have a significant impact on people's quality of life.
"So far, council staff have been present on the ground at Omagh and they have confirmed that there is a legitimate problem and that it does apply to a number of different areas," he said.
"The difficulty at this stage — and this is why the council has investigated taking on additional specialist equipment — is that it is not possible at this exact stage to pinpoint the source of it or indeed whether this is potentially a case of multiple sources that are providing the problem."
The council originally said they had not received any complaints about the noise but several weeks on, they have revealed they are looking at bringing in specialists to locate the source.
"Fermanagh and Omagh District Council's Environmental Health Officers are investigating reports of a humming noise in Omagh town but due to the wide area where the sound has been reported it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source(s)," read today's statement.
"Officers are currently investigating the use of specialist equipment, or procurement of a specialist company, to assist in detecting the source of the noise."
Theories proposed for previous instances of 'the hum' include mechanical devices, wind shears caused by jet streams and people merely focussing on innocuous background sounds.