Wind turbine noise, annoyance and self-reported health and wellbeing in different living environments

Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.
Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 08/2007; 64(7):480-6. DOI: 10.1136/oem.2006.031039
Source: PubMed


To evaluate the prevalence of perception and annoyance due to wind turbine noise among people living near the turbines, and to study relations between noise and perception/annoyance, with focus on differences between living environments.
A cross-sectional study was carried out in seven areas in Sweden across dissimilar terrain and different degrees of urbanisation. A postal questionnaire regarding living conditions including response to wind turbine noise was completed by 754 subjects. Outdoor A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated for each respondent. Perception and annoyance due to wind turbine noise in relation to SPLs was analysed with regard to dissimilarities between the areas.
The odds of perceiving wind turbine noise increased with increasing SPL (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.25 to 1.40). The odds of being annoyed by wind turbine noise also increased with increasing SPLs (OR 1.1; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.25). Perception and annoyance were associated with terrain and urbanisation: (1) a rural area increased the risk of perception and annoyance in comparison with a suburban area; and (2) in a rural setting, complex ground (hilly or rocky terrain) increased the risk compared with flat ground. Annoyance was associated with both objective and subjective factors of wind turbine visibility, and was further associated with lowered sleep quality and negative emotions.
There is a need to take the unique environment into account when planning a new wind farm so that adverse health effects are avoided. The influence of area-related factors should also be considered in future community noise research.

Download full-text


Available from: Kerstin Persson Waye
  • Source
    • "signal may exacerbate reported annoyance (Pedersen et al., 2009). Pedersen and Waye (2007) found evidence suggesting turbine sound-related annoyance is correlated with (although not necessarily caused by) an ability to view wind turbines, perhaps in part related to increased proximity to the turbine itself, while Pedersen and Larsman (2008) "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Community-based wind energy projects, with their small-scale, yet sizeable presence, provide a valuable opportunity to understand how individuals make sense of changes to their communities and to the surrounding landscape. Here, we examine the results of a 2013 mail survey of individuals residing in the vicinity of a 2 MW wind turbine that is located on the edge of the historic coastal town of Lewes, Delaware in the United States, and adjacent to Delaware Bay and the Great Marsh Preserve. The wind turbine, which was constructed in 2010, primarily serves the University of Delaware's coastal campus, and to a lesser extent the town of Lewes. Seventy-eight percent hold positive or very positive attitudes toward the wind turbine, with only 10% having negative or very negative attitudes, and 82% like the look of the wind turbine. Socially constructed aspects find more resonance than physical ones (e.g., attractiveness) in explaining this latter finding, with the wind turbine being reflective of a transformation to a clean energy future for those residents who like the way the turbine looks. On the other hand, those objecting to its look, find the turbine does not fit the landscape. Policy implications of these findings and others related to wind turbine sound are considered, and recommendations for better understanding of proposed developments from the vantage point of the affected communities, including how a community views itself and its surrounding landscape, are made.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Land Use Policy
  • Source
    • "341 Yes Highly exposed subjects more annoyed compared to less exposed subjects . Noise sensitive subjects ( q ) Negative attitude to visible wind turbines ( q ) Negative attitude to wind turbines in general ( q ) Pedersen et al 2007 [ 39 , 41 , 47 ] . 754 Yes Highly exposed subjects more annoyed compared to less exposed subjects . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Wind turbine noise exposure and suspected health-related effects thereof have attracted substantial attention. Various symptoms such as sleep-related problems, headache, tinnitus and vertigo have been described by subjects suspected of having been exposed to wind turbine noise. This review was conducted systematically with the purpose of identifying any reported associations between wind turbine noise exposure and suspected health-related effects. A search of the scientific literature concerning the health-related effects of wind turbine noise was conducted on PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar and various other Internet sources. All studies investigating suspected health-related outcomes associated with wind turbine noise exposure were included. Wind turbines emit noise, including low-frequency noise, which decreases incrementally with increases in distance from the wind turbines. Likewise, evidence of a dose-response relationship between wind turbine noise linked to noise annoyance, sleep disturbance and possibly even psychological distress was present in the literature. Currently, there is no further existing statistically-significant evidence indicating any association between wind turbine noise exposure and tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo or headache. Selection bias and information bias of differing magnitudes were found to be present in all current studies investigating wind turbine noise exposure and adverse health effects. Only articles published in English, German or Scandinavian languages were reviewed. Exposure to wind turbines does seem to increase the risk of annoyance and self-reported sleep disturbance in a dose-response relationship. There appears, though, to be a tolerable level of around LAeq of 35 dB. Of the many other claimed health effects of wind turbine noise exposure reported in the literature, however, no conclusive evidence could be found. Future studies should focus on investigations aimed at objectively demonstrating whether or not measureable health-related outcomes can be proven to fluctuate depending on exposure to wind turbines.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "Among renewable energy typologies, wind energy prevails with the most significant growth. Despite the fact that wind turbine plants are considered environmentally friendly projects, the wind turbines are often considered as intruder elements that spoil the landscape and generate noise [6]. For local residents, their environmental impact it is associated to several, physical (e.g. "

    Full-text · Conference Paper · Sep 2013
Show more