All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Humming, rumbling, or throbbing sound in your head - anxiety symptoms

Having a humming, droning, rumbling, throbbing, vibrating-like, hissing, fizzing, or other types of sounds in your head.

The symptom:

This anxiety symptom seems to be coming from the center of your head rather than your ears.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may hear this humming sound once and a while and not that often, hear it off and on, or hear it all the time.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can seem louder and more disconcerting when undistracted, trying to rest, when trying to go to sleep, or when your environment is quiet.

This humming, droning, throbbing sound can also be caused and aggravated by a lack of sleep.

Why does anxiety cause the humming, rumbling, droning throbbing sounds in your head symptoms?

Behaving in an apprehensive manner (anxiety, worried, fretful, fearful, nervous) causes the body to activate the stress response, which causes the body to secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason this response is often referred to as the fight or flight response or the emergency response.

Part of the stress response changes include stimulating the nervous system, which includes the brain, since stress hormones are stimulants. The nervous system is primarily made up of neurons – cells that have an electrochemical (electricity and chemicals) property.

When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. Consequently, we barely notice the changes the stress response brings about and they are temporary.

When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, such as when a person is behaving overly apprehensively, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi hyperstimulated state.

Hyperstimulation can cause the electrical activity in the brain to increase. This increased electrical activity can cause neurons to act erratically, which can cause all sorts of abnormal and unusual nervous system behavior, such as causing this symptom – a humming, droning, rumbling, throbbing, vibrating-like, hissing, fizzing, or other types of sounds in your head. Since the brain receives and interprets auditory information, it can also interpret heightened and erratic neuronal activity as a ‘sound.’ This symptom is an example of that.

As hyperstimulation increases, so can the intensity, frequency, and duration of this symptom.

Any kind of stress (physical exertion, long hours without sufficient rest, environmental, etc.) can cause hyperstimulation if the stress is sustained enough, which can result in producing symptoms of hyperstimulation, including this symptom.

How to get rid of the humming, rumbling, droning throbbing sounds in your head anxiety symptoms?

When this humming sound in your head is caused by persistently elevated stress, such as that caused by overly apprehensive behavior, reducing your body’s stress, containing your apprehensive behavior, dealing with your anxiety issues (so that your body’s stress can diminish) increasing rest and relaxation, and remaining patient will eventually calm your body down enough to eliminate symptoms of hyperstimulation, including this humming, droning, rumbling, throbbing, vibrating-like, hissing, fizzing, or other types of sounds in your head symptom.

When the body has fully recovered from its hyperstimulated state, this humming symptom will completely subside. Therefore, this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

Sure, this humming, droning, rumbling, throbbing, vibrating-like, hissing, fizzing, or other types of sounds in your head symptom can be unsettling, distracting, and even bothersome, but again, when your body has recovered from its overly stressed state, this symptom will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you may want to connect with one of our anxiety disorder therapists, coaches, or counselors. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry and anxiety.

For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including this one, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.


For more information about our Anxiety Therapy, Coaching, Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Symptoms of Anxiety; Anxiety Attack Symptoms; anxiety Recovery Support area; common Anxiety Myths; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate graphic below:

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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated September 10, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including having a humming, droning, rumbling, throbbing, vibrating-like, hissing, fizzing, or other types of sounds in your head anxiety symptoms.