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Resource Documents: Noise (541 items)


Also see NWW press release on noise

Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.

Date added:  May 18, 2015
Health, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Effect of wind turbine noise on sleep and quality of life

Author:  Onakpoya, Igho; O’Sullivan, Jack; Thompson, Matthew; and Heneghan, Carl

The effect of wind turbine noise on sleep and quality of life: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies


Noise generated by wind turbines has been reported to affect sleep and quality of life (QOL), but the relationship is unclear. Our objective was to explore the association between wind turbine noise, sleep disturbance and quality of life, using data from published observational studies. We searched Medline, Embase, Global Health and Google Scholar databases. No language restrictions were imposed. Hand searches of bibliography of retrieved full texts were also conducted. The reporting quality of included studies was assessed using the STROBE guidelines. Two reviewers independently determined the eligibility of studies, assessed the quality of included studies, and extracted the data. We included eight studies with a total of 2433 participants. All studies were cross-sectional, and the overall reporting quality was moderate. Meta-analysis of six studies (n = 2364) revealed that the odds of being annoyed is significantly increased by wind turbine noise (OR: 4.08; 95% CI: 2.37 to 7.04; p < 0.00001). The odds of sleep disturbance was also significantly increased with greater exposure to wind turbine noise (OR: 2.94; 95% CI: 1.98 to 4.37; p < 0.00001). Four studies reported that wind turbine noise significantly interfered with QOL. Further, visual perception of wind turbine generators was associated with greater frequency of reported negative health effects. In conclusion, there is some evidence that exposure to wind turbine noise is associated with increased odds of annoyance and sleep problems. Individual attitudes could influence the type of response to noise from wind turbines. Experimental and observational studies investigating the relationship between wind turbine noise and health are warranted.

Igho J. Onakpoya, Carl J. Heneghan
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Jack O’Sullivan
Department of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Matthew J. Thompson
Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Environment International, Volume 82, September 2015, Pages 1–9

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Date added:  May 9, 2015
Australia, Noise, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

Constructive interference of tonal infrasound from synchronised wind farm turbines: evidence and implications

Author:  Bell, Andrew

Noise from wind farms is contentious: people who live nearby complain of annoyance, and yet broadband measurements of infrasound seem to indicate the noise is generally not above audibility criteria. The paradox can be resolved by supposing that wind farms generate a strong tonal signal at the blade passing frequency, 0.8 Hz, and that this infrasound, with a wavelength of 400 m, can constructively interfere if two or more wind turbines operate in synchrony and the path lengths differ by a multiple of 400 m. Coherent infrasound at 0.8 Hz could propagate many kilometres, would tend to carry many harmonics due to the rapid changes within its waveform, and the high harmonics in the 20–30 Hz band have the potential to be heard by human ears. The existence of coherent infrasound from wind turbines has not been specifically recognised, but evidence of the phenomenon can be discerned in two anomalies contained in data from recent infrasound monitoring of wind farms in South Australia. This paper interprets the anomalies in terms of a model which suggests that wind farms produce enhanced sound pressure levels when the blades of multiple machines become mutually entrained and the sound from them becomes coherent. The inference is that acoustic measures, which assume wind turbine signals are stationary, may not be accurate indicators of peak noise levels.

Andrew Bell
John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra

Acoustics Australia, Vol. 42, No.3, December 2014, pp. 212-218

Download original document: “Constructive interference of tonal infrasound from synchronised wind farm turbines: evidence and implications”

Also see:  Andrew Bell’s submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council regarding the NHMRC Draft Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health.

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Date added:  April 24, 2015
NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Auditory Recognition of Familiar and Unfamiliar Subjects with Wind Turbine Noise

Author:  Maffei, Luigi; Masullo, Massimiliano; Di Gabriele, Maria; et al.

Abstract — Considering the wide growth of the wind turbine market over the last decade as well as their increasing power size, more and more potential conflicts have arisen in society due to the noise radiated by these plants. Our goal was to determine whether the annoyance caused by wind farms is related to aspects other than noise. To accomplish this, an auditory experiment on the recognition of wind turbine noise was conducted to people with long experience of wind turbine noise exposure and to people with no previous experience to this type of noise source. Our findings demonstrated that the trend of the auditory recognition is the same for the two examined groups, as far as the increase of the distance and the decrease of the values of sound equivalent levels and loudness are concerned. Significant differences between the two groups were observed as the distance increases. People with wind turbine noise experience showed a higher tendency to report false alarms than people without experience.

Luigi Maffei, Massimiliano Masullo, Maria Di Gabriele
Department of Architecture and Industrial Design “L. Vanvitelli”, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Aversa, Italy
Nefta-Eleftheria P. Votsi, John D. Pantis
Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Vincenzo Paolo Senese
Department of Psychology, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Caserta, Italy

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2015, 12(4), 4306-4320
doi: 10.3390/ijerph120404306

Download original document: “Auditory Recognition of Familiar and Unfamiliar Subjects with Wind Turbine Noise”

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Date added:  April 23, 2015
NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Analysis of aerodynamic sound noise generated by a large-scaled wind turbine and its physiological evaluation

Author:  Inagaki, T.; Li, Y.; and Nishi, Y.

Abstract — Aerodynamic noise generated from a modern large-scale wind turbine was measured and analyzed from an engineering point of view. The measurement items were the sound, the sound pressure level (including the infrasound with extremely low-frequency band) and the corresponding physiological evaluation. Fifteen test subjects received various sound stimuli, including the recorded aerodynamic noise and a synthetic periodical sound, [and] were examined with an electroencephalogram as a physiological evaluation. It was observed from the mapping patterns of brain waves that alpha₁ rhythm, which indicates a relaxed and concentrated state, after the sound stimulus with the frequency band of 20 Hz, showed the lowest value among the other cases. That is, the test subjects cannot keep relaxed and their concentration after hearing the sound stimulus at the frequency band of 20 Hz. The induced rate of alpha₁ rhythm almost decreased when the test subjects listened to all the sound stimuli, and further decreased with decreased frequency. Meanwhile, beta₁ rhythm, which shows a strain state, after the sound stimulus with the frequency band of 20 Hz showed the highest value among the other cases. Therefore, the infrasound (e.g., low frequency and inaudible for human hearing) was considered to be an annoyance to the technicians who work in close proximity to a modern large-scale wind turbine.

T. Inagaki, Y. Li, Y. Nishi
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Ibaraki University, Hitachi-shi, Ibaraki-ken, Japan

International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
June 2015, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1933-1944
doi: 10.1007/s13762-014-0581-4

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