Health effects related to wind turbine sound: A review



Worldwide questions about health effects play a role in local debates about windfarms. A review was prepared for the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment of the literature published since 2017 about the health-effects of wind turbine sound. Scientific literature was collected on the effect on annoyance, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease and metabolism. Also, visual annoyance and other non–acoustic factors, such as appraisal of the local decision making process were investigated. Annoyance came forward as a consequence of wind turbine sound: the louder the receiver sound level, the stronger the annoyance response. For other health effects, results of scientific research are inconsistent. Effect are not a consequence of the sound levels, but rather related to the residents’ annoyance.  The literature did not show that infrasound or low frequency sound leads to other effects when compared to sound at higher frequencies.  Evidence shows that residents experience less annoyance when they participate in the siting process. By being able to take part in the siting and in balancing costs and benefits, residents experience less annoyance. It is therefore important to take worries of local residents seriously and involve them in the process of planning and the siting of wind turbines.