Author: | Noise
Selected papers from the 12th International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem, Zurich, 18–22 June 2017:
“Recent progress in the field of non-auditory health effects of noise – trends and research needs” by Yvonne de Kluizenaar and Toshihito Matsui – The Netherlands and Japan
… A wealth of new research on non-auditory health effects of noise has been published over the last 3 years. …
“Health Effects of Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound from Wind Farms: Results from an Independent Collective Expertise in France” by Philippe Lepoutre, Paul Avan, Anthony Cadene, David Ecotière, Anne-Sophie Evrard, Frédérique Moati, and Esko Topilla – France
… Recent results on the physiology of cochleo-vestibular system have revealed several pathways of physiological effects mechanisms that could be activated in response to exposure to ILFN. This sensory system has a particular sensitivity to these frequencies, superior to that of other parts of the human body. Available data suggest the hypothesis that sounds of frequencies too low or levels too low to be clearly audible could have effects mediated by receptors of the cochleo-vestibular system. …
“Noise Annoyance Caused by Large Wind Turbines – A Dose-Response Relationship” by Valtteri Hongisto and David Oliva – Finland
The purpose was to determine a dose-response-relationship of large wind turbines with nominal power of 3-5 MW. A cross-sectional survey was conducted around three wind power areas in Finland. The sample involved all households within 2km from the nearest turbine. Altogether 400 households out of 753 reported the annoyance indoors. The dose-response relationship was determined between the predicted noise exposure, LAeq, outdoors and the percentage of highly annoyed by wind turbine noise indoors. The percentage of highly annoyed, %HA, was less than 3%, and relatively even below 40dB LAeq. %HA started to increase when the level exceeded 40dB. …
“Hearing Beyond the Limit: Measurement, Perception and Impact of Infrasound and Ultrasonic Noise” by Christian Koch – Germany
In our daily lives, many sources emit infrasound due to their functions or as a side effect. At the other end of the hearing frequency range, airborne ultrasound is applied in many technical and medical processes and has also increasingly moved into everyday life. There are numerous indicators that sound at these frequencies can be perceived and can influence human beings. However, the precise mechanisms of this perception are unknown at present and this lack of understanding is reflected by the unsatisfactory status of the existing regulations and standards. …
“A Review of the Human Exposure-Response to Amplitude-Modulated Wind Turbine Noise: Health Effects, Influences on Community Annoyance, Methods of Control and Mitigation” by Michael J. B. Lotinga, Richard A. Perkins, Bernard Berry, Colin J. Grimwood, and Stephen A. Stansfeld – U.K.
… The conclusions of most reviews of the research on the effects of WTN on health, including those carried out on behalf of Government agencies, confirm that annoyance is caused by WTN, and that AM appears to increase annoyance. The association of WTN with sleep disturbance appears to be considerably more complex. … All of the field studies outlined so far have focussed on the responses to time-averaged WTN exposure levels. In a study of noise emissions from 1.8 MW turbines, it was argued that noise annoyance expressed by residents at 500-1900m distances might be exacerbated by AM, increased levels and low-frequency content occurring in the late evening and night-time. These phenomena were attributed to the stable night-time atmosphere causing high wind shear, and the coincidence of AM patterns from the turbines. … On the basis of the review and studies considered above, a control for AM has been proposed for use in planning windfarm developments. This control takes as its basis the principle that AM increases annoyance caused by WTN, and that this increase can be characterised by adding a penalty value to the overall WTN level, to equalise it with subjective judgement of a negligible-AM WTN sound. The results of ref 58 suggest that fluctuation in broadband WTN-like sounds will almost certainly be sensed by most people with normal hearing at approximately 3dB ΔLAeq,100ms(BP) which forms the proposed onset for the penalty. … The possible influence of increased low-frequency content in the AM is addressed by the design of the metric used to rate the magnitude, which employs frequency filtering to ensure the signal is evaluated for the range that produces the maximum AM rating. …
“Review of Research on the Effects of Noise on Sleep Over the Last 3 Years” by Sarah McGuire and Gunn Marit Aasvang – U.S. and Norway
… Among the new actigraphy and polysomnographic field studies are the first studies on wind turbine noise which have used objective measures of sleep, as well as a study examining the potential benefit of nighttime air-traffic curfews. Also there have been new epidemiological studies which have added to the knowledge on the effects of noise on self-reported sleep disturbance. …
“The Inadequacy of the A-Frequency Weighting for the Assessment of Adverse Effects on Human Populations” by Bruce Rapley, Mariana Alves-Pereira, and Huub Bakker – New Zealand and Portugal
“Case Report: Cross-Sensitisation to Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise” by Bruce Rapley, Huub Bakker, Mariana Alves-Pereira, and Rachel Summers – New Zealand
This Case Report describes an episode experienced by two noise-sensitised individuals during a field trip. Exposed to residential infrasound and low frequency noise due to coal mining activities, the subjects reacted suddenly, strongly and unexpectedly to pressure pulses generated by a wind farm located at a different town, approximately 160km by road from their residence. Simultaneous physiological data obtained in one subject and subjective sensations occurring during the episode are reported. Acoustical evaluations of the location of the episode are also reported. The possibility of a nocebo effect as an etiological factor for their bodily reactions is cogently eliminated. …
“Evaluation of Wind Turbine Noise in Japan” by Akira Shimada and Mimi Nameki – Japan
In order to tackle with wind turbine noise (WTN) related complaints, Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) set up an expert committee in 2013. In November 2016, the committee published a report on investigation, prediction and evaluation methods of WTN. The report compiles recent scientific findings on WTN, including the results of nationwide field measurements in Japan and the results of review of the scientific literature related to health effects of WTN. The report sets out methodology for investigation, prediction and evaluation as well as case examples of countermeasures. A noise guideline for wind turbine, which suggests WTN should not be more than 5dB above the residual noise where residual noise levels are above 35-40dB, is also presented in the report. MOEJ is developing a WTN noise guideline and a technical manual for WTN investigation based on the report. Both documents will be finalized in the fast half of 2017.
“Wind Turbine Noise Effects on Sleep: The WiTNES Study” by Michael Smith, Mikael Ögren, Pontus Thorsson, Laith Hussain-Alkhateeb, Eja Pedersen, Jens Forssén, Julia Ageborg Morsing, and Kerstin Persson Waye – Sweden
Onshore wind turbines are becoming increasingly widespread globally, with the associated net effect that a greater number of people will be exposed to wind turbine noise (WTN). Sleep disturbance by WTN has been suggested to be of particular importance with regards to a potential impact on human health. … Almost all measures of self-reported sleep were negatively impacted following nights with wind turbine noise. The WTN nights lead to increased sleep disturbance, reduced sleep quality, increased tiredness, increased irritation, awakenings, increased difficulty to sleep, sleeping worse than usual, and decreased mood. Subjects dwelling close to wind turbines, and consequently potentially exposed to WTN at home, repeatedly scored their sleep and restoration lower than the reference group following the WTN nights.
“Frequency Weighting for the Evaluation of Human Response to Low-Frequency Noise Based on the Physiological Evidence of the Vestibular System” by Junta Tagusari, Shou Satou, and Toshihito Matsui – Japan
Several studies were found regarding adverse health effects due to low-frequency noise emitted by industrial machines including wind turbines. However, the causal chain between low-frequency noise and health effects still remains unclear. Meanwhile, from the physiological viewpoint, low-frequency noise stimulate hair cells in the vestibular system, which could cause dizziness, vertigo, headache and nausea. The stimulating process is different from the hearing process in the cochlea, which implies that the A-weighting is not appropriate for evaluating the risk of low-frequency noise and that an alternative method is required. …
“A new methodology for investigating ILFN complaints” Stephen Cooper – Australia
The methodology employed in the Cape Bridgewater study started from resident’s diaries of disturbances whilst noise monitoring was occurring. The procedure then took weather data, wind farm operating data and noise data as post-processed data to compare with the diaries to find trends where specific wind farm operations corresponded to the report disturbances. A similar procedure occurred for investigating “noise” complaints from residents concerning a coal-fired power station and a large ventilation fan for an underground coal mine. Limitations in obtaining high-quality full-spectrum wave files were encountered. Typical Class 1 sound level meters have storage limitations of 1–2½ days for such high-quality samples. Using multichannel systems such as a Bruel & Kjaer Pulse are expensive and lead to very large storage requirements. Utilising the study procedure resulted in the development of a relatively low cost, two-channel, full-spectrum data recorder for field use, coupled with simultaneous biometric monitoring. The methodology has been successfully employed/developed. The opportunities now available for more detailed processing of this data, together with linking the disturbances to the startle reflex are discussed.
This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
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