The impacts from noise and vibration generated by wind turbines include sleep disturbance – defined by the WHO as, in and of itself, an adverse health effect (see our post here).
In addition, those impacts include a range of other adverse sensations, such as: headaches; pressure in the head, ears or chest; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); heart racing; or a sensation of heaviness.
The impacts are most pronounced when turbines start up, are at full power or changing load by more than 20 per cent up or down.
The trigger for the adverse sensations suffered is turbine noise measured inside homes in the 4Hz to 5Hz frequency range at sound pressure levels as low as 50 decibels – well below the hearing threshold for those frequencies (ie, what is termed “infrasound”).
The audible noise measure (ie dB(A)) – used in the noise guidelines is irrelevant.
The sensation impacts correlated with infrasound generated by the turbines and measured inside homes.
Turbine generated infrasound is readily distinguishable from infrasound generated by natural sources, due to the “signature” produced by wind turbines.
The results accord with the work done during the 1980s by Neil Kelley, et al, which proved that very low frequency noise generated by wind turbines caused the adverse effects suffered by wind farm neighbours.