Neon signs, with their vibrant glow, are a classic symbol of nightlife and urban culture. However, a lesser-known aspect of these signs is the noise they sometimes produce. This article explores the reasons behind the humming sound of neon signs and how it can be addressed.

Do Neon Signs Make Noise

The Principle of Sound Emission in Neon Signs

Neon signs produce sound due to the electrical and physical processes involved in their operation. The primary source of noise is the electrical transformer, which converts high-voltage power to the lower voltage needed by neon signs. This conversion process can create a humming or buzzing sound, especially in older or lower-quality transformers.

Types of Sounds and Their Causes

Transformer Hum: The most common sound associated with neon signs is a low humming or buzzing, usually caused by the transformer. This noise is due to the vibration of electrical components under the strain of high voltage.

Gas Vibration: In some cases, the sound may also come from the vibration of the gases inside the neon tubes, although this is less common and typically quieter than transformer noise.

Neon Sign Noise

Noise Reduction Techniques

Reducing noise in neon signs involves several approaches:

Upgrading the Transformer: Modern, high-quality transformers are designed to minimize sound emission. Replacing an old transformer can significantly reduce the hum.

Secure Installation: Ensuring that the neon sign and its components are securely installed can reduce vibration and the resultant noise. Loose parts can exacerbate the humming sound.

Sound Dampening Measures: Implementing sound-dampening materials around the transformer can help absorb and reduce the noise.

Case Studies and Real-Life Examples

Restaurant Sign Upgrade: A case study of a restaurant that reduced the noise of its iconic neon sign by upgrading to a newer transformer, which not only quieted the sign but also improved its energy efficiency.

Art Installation: An artist integrated the natural hum of neon signs into an audio-visual installation, showcasing how the sound of neon can be an integral part of its appeal.

Buzzing Neon Sign

Common Misconceptions and Clarifications

It’s a common misconception that all neon signs are noisy. While older signs may hum, advances in technology and proper maintenance can mitigate or even eliminate this issue. Understanding the cause of the noise is key to addressing it effectively.


While neon signs can produce a distinctive hum, it's not an unavoidable aspect of their charm. With modern technology and proper installation techniques, the noise can be significantly reduced or eliminated, ensuring that these signs continue to be a visually and audibly pleasant part of the urban landscape.

30 noviembre 2023 — MIMI

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