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

Journal article
Authors Julia Ageborg Morsing
M. G. Smith
Mikael Ögren
P. Thorsson
E. Pedersen
J. Forssén
Kerstin Persson Waye
Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 15
Issue 11
ISSN 1660-4601
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112573
Keywords amplitude modulation, experimental study, polysomnography, sleep disturbance, wind turbine noise
Subject categories Environmental medicine

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.

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