Perceptions of Wind Turbine Noise and Self-Reported Health in Suburban Residential Areas

Front Psychol. 2021 Aug 30;12:736231. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.736231. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

Wind turbines play an important role in the worldwide mission of producing renewable energy. The development toward integrating large-scale wind turbines in the urban environment has raised concerns over the noise impacts on urban residents. While most of the existing studies on wind turbine noise (WTN) have focused on rural settings, this paper investigates the relationship between WTN, noise perception and self-reported health of people, and controlling for background characteristics of the residents in urbanized areas. Questionnaire surveys were carried out around three suburban wind farms in the UK with 359 respondents. A-weighted sound pressure levels of WTN were predicted using noise mapping, for the most exposed façade of each dwelling of the respondent. The dose-response relationship was found between WTN and annoyance, moderated by age and degree of education. WTN was associated with some aspects of self-reported health, including raised health concerns, having headaches, nausea, and ear discomfort, but was not related to sleep disturbance directly. Noise sensitivity, attitudes to wind energy, and visibility of the wind turbines were found to significantly influence self-reported health. By employing a second variant of the questionnaire with the research aim masked, this study also addressed the focusing effects induced by the questionnaire design. The significant differences in the reported adverse health between questionnaire variants implied focusing bias among the sample who knew the research purpose. This elicited a methodological finding that should be noted in future research.

PMID:34526942 | PMC:PMC8435591 | DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.736231

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