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Exploring underlying mechanisms for human response to wind turbine noise

This paper investigates underlying mechanisms for human response to wind turbine noise by studying the effects in terms of source detection, recognition and annoyance with and without road traffic noise. Recordings from a single 1.8-MW wind turbine have been mixed with samples of highway noise and of local roads at different signal-to-noise ratios. These fragments have been presented to 50 normal-hearing participants in a two-stage experiment. First, annoyance and source recognition have been evaluated during quiet leisure activities in background noise, with people unaware of the actual purpose. Secondly, wind turbine noise had to be identified in a paired comparison test. The second focused identification task indicates that wind turbine noise detectability in background noise at different signal-to-noise ratios is clearly different in highway noise than in noise from local roads. Furthermore, individuals with higher detection scores are also more capable to recognize wind turbine noise in the non-focused listening experiment, and better recognition could be linked with higher annoyance reports. These findings suggest that higher level appraisal, emotional and/or cognitive processes contribute to reported wind turbine noise annoyance, but further research is needed to consolidate this hypothesis.

Annelies Bockstael, Timothy Van Renterghem, Valentine De Weirt, and Dick Botteldooren
Acoustics Research Group, INTEC, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium

Presented at Internoise 2013, Innsbruck, Austria, 13-18 September, 2013

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