Objectives. The overall aim of this study was to evaluate the perception of and annoyance due to the noise from wind turbines in populated areas of Poland.
Material and Methods. The study group comprised 156 subjects. All subjects were asked to fill in a questionnaire developed to enable evaluation of their living conditions, including prevalence of annoyance due to the noise from wind turbines and the self-assessment of physical health and well-being. In addition, current mental health status of the respondents was assessed using Goldberg General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12. For areas where the respondents lived, A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated as the sum of the contributions from the wind power plants in the specific area.
Results. It has been shown that the wind turbine noise at the calculated A-weighted SPL of 30-48 dB was noticed outdoors by 60.3% of the respondents. This noise was perceived as annoying outdoors by 33.3% of the respondents, while indoors by 20.5% of them. The odds ratio of being annoyed outdoors by the wind turbine noise increased along with increasing SPLs (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 1.22–3.62). The subjects’ attitude to wind turbines in general and sensitivity to landscape littering was found to have significant impact on the perceived annoyance. About 63% of variance in outdoors annoyance assessment might be explained by the noise level, general attitude to wind turbines and sensitivity to landscape littering.
Conclusions. Before firm conclusions can be drawn further studies are needed, including a larger number of respondents with different living environments (i.e., dissimilar terrain, different urbanization and road traffic intensity).
Department of Physical Hazards
Department of Occupational Psychology
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health
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