We live in a relatively quiet area. Since 2012, we hear a low bass rhythmic sound (music?) with slight vibrations in the front bedroom. We cannot hear it outside, only in the room and especially while lying in bed.

A sewer pipe runs underneath that bedroom. We've had it checked and rechecked, but it has revealed nothing. There is a city water pump down the street, but the sounds do not match.

Could a neighbor's Bose sound system across the street travel via pipes to our front bedroom?

Nothing really is heard outside and the sound is mostly at night.

If it is a Bose-like system, and neighbor does not want to turn music off, what can we do?

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    Seems highly unlikely either to have music transiting pipes across the street or especially to have it every night from midnight to 7 am since 2012. Look for "things that changed in 2012" - some sort of industrial plant or gas well, perhaps - might also try turning off all the circuit breakers in your house (shut down computers, etc. nicely first, of course) for a few minutes to determine if it's actually something in your house causing the noise - if it stops, isolate which circuit it comes back with.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:19
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    what can we do? - for me, whisky and / or Zzzquil instantly fix sleepless nights.
    – Yuck
    Sep 9, 2014 at 20:05

4 Answers 4


Listen, sound patterns travel in the weirdest ways. My house is on a hill and there is a college a block away. Every night my house was shaking from bass and I was like "what the hell". I am thinking the kids were cranking up their bass so I ventured out on a recon mission.

After a few nights of visiting the parking lot area I did realize it was a few kids. But their music was kind of loud but really not bad at all. The sound waves just climbed right up the hill and bam hit my house. I just asked them to move literally 30 feet over behind a tree and have never heard them since (and they still hang out there).

For your issue you have to get rid of all of your power for a night to make sure its not you. I believe you when you say its your neighbor but check yourself first. I did have a roommate in college that slept with semiloud music on all the time.

As for traveling through pipes... I doubt it. Unless their system is setup right next to the sewar lines or main stack really there is no way. Most bass back echos. So if they have a system that is facing away from your house in their room facing you, that would make more sense.

I would talk to the neighbor. Your options for making this sound go away on your own probably involve a tree or fence which I am not even sure is possible.

  • upvote for starting your answer with "Listen" :) And for a good reply, of course.
    – alt
    Sep 9, 2014 at 23:02

Low sounds travel further, and are a lot harder to pinpoint direction.

I used to live in a house that if you slept in the front upstairs bedroom, you could hear a low rumble all night long. Only I heard it (my wife's hearing isn't as good as mine) and only when the bed was in a particular spot.

It turns out the rumbling was coming from parked refrigerator train cars a mile away at the bottom of a cliff. It just happened that the sound waves managed to bounce off enough surfaces in line with our house and our house happened to magnify the sound in that one particular spot inside.

The fix? We moved the bed.

So...what may help is to rearrange the furniture. See if the bed in a different corner solves the situation.

  • Yes. We have our couch next to sliding doors in the back. The train is over a half mile away. If the train is moving fast you hear almost nothing. If it is going a couple mph then the couch is almost shaking. The fix - turn up TV when train comes.
    – DMoore
    Jun 11, 2014 at 15:46
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    Also available is wave guide tunneling caused by air layer density. The train yard is 3 miles away and across a river, but on certain nights with the right temperature, you would swear the locomotive was running in the next street and when they bump to couple, it can sound like a minor car accident occurred. The rest of the year it's a minor whisper in the breeze. A molding plant up the hillside and 6 miles away in the same direction gave us a low continuous loud hum in our back yard when it bounced off the top of that same air layer. Nov 27, 2014 at 1:55

I hear a noise like that at night and traced it to my refrigerator. It seems that there is a hum that it generates and seems to travel through the house wiring. try unplugging or turning off everything you can in the house and see if you find anything.


Going out on a limb here... that water pump fills a tank using off-peak power (12am-7am). Also, above ground noise sounds different then when propagated through a pipe, the ground, and your house (the sounds don't match, but does the timing?). Given the time frame, any municipal or industrial equipment near your house may be the culprit. Move your bed, pick a different room or start working nights.

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