Is The ‘Island Tone’ I’ve Heard In Hawaii Global?


Remember maybe 6 or 7 months ago I talked about a tone that sounds kind of like a singing bowl that comes at night here on the Big Island? I think I talked about it on Paratopia; I know I did on Facebook. And I’d mentioned it to people at work. They’d heard it, too.

To me it sounds external but I only–or perhaps primarily–hear it in my right ear. It sounds like it’s just above the threshold of background noise and if you concentrate on it, it grows really loud really quickly but recedes the second you stop focusing.

Whelp, I hadn’t heard it since I moved about 4 months ago, until last night at around midnight. Same thing: a low tone with maybe a hint of a high-pitched tone heard evenly in both ears. I say maybe because I’m not sure if they are related. There is a jumbled mess of tones at different frequencies kicking around the atmosphere that come apparent when you listen. But that low tone always announces itself.

At 12:10am I attempted to text Jeff Ritzmann and Tyler Kokjohn as it was happening, just to document it. Naturally, after typing my longwinded message, I hit a button that erased it before I could send. Oh well. Attempted science over. Time for sleep.

I woke up at 4-something in the morning to pee and I thought the tone was gone but after a few minutes of concentrated listening it swelled up, but it seemed broken or stuttering. Not quite morse code, but you get the idea. This, too, had happened at the old apartment.

Woke up for good this morning and asked one of my roommates if she heard it but she wasn’t awake at the time so, no. Went to my computer to check on the world, make sure everyone’s okay. Revolution in Egypt? Check. Trayvon Martin’s mom saying God wanted that white man to slaughter her son so that she could use the aftershock to “make a difference”? Yes. Congress doing nothing? Yup. Environment turning to dust? Steady as she goes.

All is right in the world. And then I find this:

And suddenly I don’t sound half as crazy as I might have a couple of paragraphs ago.


Since the question of tinnitus has come up, let me say it sounds nothing like anything here:

It sounds more like the low throbbing undertone in this:

Which, it turns out, I did write about here:


9 thoughts on “Is The ‘Island Tone’ I’ve Heard In Hawaii Global?

  1. Maybe you have tinnitus, I do, it’s a high pitched whine or whistle in one or both ears. Mine gets louder when my blood pressure is up. Can hear it better in quiet places , The constant eeeeeEEEEEeeeee has made me near insane [ don’t take my advice 😉 ]

    • I just updated the post to demonstrate the difference. But interestingly, there are two ‘gluck-gluck’ type sounds in the tinnitus video that sound like what I’ve heard since I was a young child that I’ve described as blood pulsing through your ears–which always precede nightmares.

      • Mine sounds like the noise at 3:41 on the tinnitus vid , sometimes with a Morse code like effect. I’ve often wondered if something was trying to communicate.

      • some of those sounds are really harsh. I feel bad for sufferers. I wonder why there is such a variety? Is it that they mimic whatever led to the hearing loss? Concert, being a truck driver, maybe–whatever occupational hazards there are having to do with noise. Do you know?

      • I think it’s nerve damage caused by exposure to loud noise, rock concerts, drag races and such.
        Mine came from a gun malfunction when I was a child , blew up in my face. Ears ringing ever since

  2. Pingback: Anomaly Radio 9/4/13 « The Elfis Network

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