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Association between self-reported and objective measures of health and aggregate annoyance scores toward wind turbine installations

Abstract —
Objective: An aggregate annoyance construct has been developed to account for annoyance that ranges from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed, toward multiple wind turbine features. The practical value associated with aggregate annoyance would be strengthened if it was related to health. The objective of the current paper was to assess the association between aggregate annoyance and multiple measures of health.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s Community Noise and Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant per dwelling (18–79 years), randomly selected from Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire.
Results: The average aggregate annoyance score for participants who indicated they had a health condition (e.g., chronic pain, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) > 5, tinnitus, migraines/headaches, dizziness, highly sensitive to noise, and reported a high sleep disturbance) ranged from 2.53 to 3.72; the mean score for those who did not report these same conditions ranged between 0.96 and 1.41. Household complaints about wind turbine noise had the highest average aggregate annoyance (8.02), compared to an average of 1.39 among those who did not complain.
Conclusion: A mean aggregate annoyance score that could reliably distinguish participants who self-report health effects (or noise complaints) from those who do not could be one of several factors considered by jurisdictions responsible for decisions regarding wind turbine developments. However, the threshold value for acceptable changes and/or levels in aggregate annoyance has not yet been established and could be the focus of future research efforts.

David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:252–260
doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0041-x

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