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Impact of visual factors on noise annoyance among people living in the vicinity of wind turbines

Wind turbines are highly visible objects and the response to wind turbine noise is possibly influenced by visual factors. In this study, visibility of the noise source, visual attitude and vertical visual angle (VVA) in different landscapes were explored. Data from two cross-sectional field studies carried out among people living near wind turbines (n=1095) were used for structural equation modelling. A proposed model of the influence of visual attitude on noise annoyance, also comprising the influence of noise level and general attitude, was tested among respondents who could see vs. respondents who could not see wind turbines from their homes, living in flat vs. hilly/rocky terrain, and living in built-up vs. rural areas. Visual attitude towards the noise source was associated with noise annoyance to different degrees in different situations. A negative visual attitude, more than multi-modal effects between auditory and visual stimulation, enhanced the risk for noise annoyance and possibly also prevented psychophysiological restoration possibilities. Aesthetic evaluations of the noise source should be taken into account when exploring response to environmental noise.

Journal of Environmental Psychology
Volume 28, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 379–389

Eja Pedersen
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, PO Box 414, SE-40530 Göteborg, Sweden
Pernilla Larsman
Department of Psychology, Göteborg University

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