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A narrative review of observational and experimental studies was conducted to assess the association between exposure to wind turbine sound and its components and health effects in the general population. Literature databases Scopus, Medline and Embase and additional bibliographic sources such as reference sections of key publications and journal databases were systematically searched for peer-reviewed studies published from 2009 to 2017. For the period until early 2015 only reviews were included, while for the period between January 2015 and January 2017 all relevant publications were screened. Ten reviews and 22 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies examined subjective annoyance as the primary outcome, indicating an association between exposure levels and the percentage highly annoyed. Sound from wind turbines leads to a higher percentage of highly annoyed when compared to other sound sources. Annoyance due to aspects, like shadow flicker, the visual (in) appropriateness in the landscape and blinking lights, can add to the noise annoyance. There is no evidence of a specific effect of the low-frequency component nor of infrasound. There are indications that the rhythmic pressure pulses on a building can lead to additional annoyance indoors. Personal characteristics such as noise sensitivity, privacy issues and social acceptance, benefits and attitudes, the local situation and the conditions of planning a wind farm also play a role in reported annoyance. Less data are available to evaluate the effects of wind turbines on sleep and long-term health effects. Sleep disturbance as well as other health effects in the vicinity of wind turbines was found to be related to annoyance, rather than directly to exposure.
Acoustics Australia – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 23, 2017
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