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Wind Turbine Noise and Sleep: Pilot Studies on the Influence of Noise Characteristics

Abstract:
The number of onshore wind turbines in Europe has greatly increased over recent years, a trend which can be expected to continue. However, the effects of wind turbine noise on long-term health outcomes for residents living near wind farms is largely unknown, although sleep disturbance may be a cause for particular concern. Presented here are two pilot studies with the aim of examining the acoustical properties of wind turbine noise that might be of special relevance regarding effects on sleep. In both pilots, six participants spent five consecutive nights in a sound environment laboratory. During three of the nights, participants were exposed to wind turbine noise with variations in sound pressure level, amplitude modulation strength and frequency, spectral content, turbine rotational frequency and beating behaviour. The impact of noise on sleep was measured using polysomnography and questionnaires. During nights with wind turbine noise there was more frequent awakening, less deep sleep, less continuous N2 sleep and increased subjective disturbance compared to control nights. The findings indicated that amplitude modulation strength, spectral frequency and the presence of strong beats might be of particular importance for adverse sleep effects. The findings will be used in the development of experimental exposures for use in future, larger studies.

Julia Ageborg Morsing, Mikael Ögren, Kerstin Persson Waye
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Michael G. Smith
Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
Pontus Thorsson, Jens Forssén
Division of Applied Acoustics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Eja Pedersen
Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, Lund University, Sweden

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018 Nov 17;15(11), E2573. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15112573.

Download original document: “Wind Turbine Noise and Sleep: Pilot Studies on the Influence of Noise Characteristics [1]
Download the supplemental material (morning questionnaire and noise spectra for the experimental wind turbine noise) [2]