The effect of wind turbine noise on sleep and quality of life: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
- Our results suggest that the odds of being annoyed appear significantly increased by wind turbine noise.
- Wind turbine noise significantly increases the odds of experiencing sleep disturbance.
- Noise generated by wind turbines appears to correlate with lower quality of life scores.
- Community preferences should be a priority during construction of new wind turbines.
- Objective outcome measures which separate auditory and visual effects of wind turbines should be developed.
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
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
doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.04.014 
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