To search the literature investigating the presence or absence of association between wind turbines induced-noise and human distress.
Null Hypothesis (Our investigation will disprove or fail to disprove [a null hypothesis can never be proven]):
There is no association between wind turbines induced-noise and human distress.
Databases Included in the Search
- EMBASE: “more than 7,600 currently indexed peer-reviewed journals”
- PubMed: A commonly used database for clinical research
- PsycINFO: “is an expansive abstracting and indexing database with more than 3 million records devoted to peer-reviewed literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health, making it an ideal discovery and linking tool for scholarly research in a host of disciplines.”
- The Cochrane Library: “Database of Systematic Reviews”
- Scopus “The largest abstract and citation database of research literature and quality web sources covering nearly 18,000 titles from more than 5,000 publishers”.
- Scirus: “Scirus is the most comprehensive science-specific search engine on the Internet. Driven by the latest search engine technology, Scirus searches over 440 million science-specific Web pages”
- Open SIGLE (System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe)
Study Design Inclusion Criteria:
- Studies examining association between wind turbine noise and distress
- Studies that are published in peer-reviewed journals
- English language
- Studies involving humans
- Investigations reporting interim analysis that did not result in stopping the study
- Secondary and long-term update
- Duplicate reports
- Cost effectiveness and economic studies
Variables Considered in This Review
- First Author
- Year of publication
- Journal of Publication
- Country of Study
- Study Design
- Sample Size
- Response Rate
- Objective of Study
- Level of Evidence
- Quality of Study
- Conclusion of Study Effect
Variables Examined in the Studies
- Annoyance (sensitivity to noise)
- Attitude to wind turbines
- Sleep Disturbance
- Economical benefit
- Visual impact
- Well-being (Quality of Life / mental effect)
- Infrasound effect (Road Traffic Noise / quiet rural environment)
Results (click each graphic to enlarge)
- All studies rejected the Null Hypothesis (no association between wind turbine noise and human distress). In other words, evidence of association was found (weak evidence: Level 4 and 5).
- No published peer-reviewed study showed no association.
- Three studies showed dose-response relationship.
- The studies are level 4 or 5 (a weak type of evidence). Nevertheless, [they] strongly warrant further research (multiple studies, multiple designs, investigating multiple hypotheses).
Ian Arra, MD, MSc; Hazel Lynn, MD, FCFP, MHSc
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