Many critics of wind energy have pointed to the apparent physical impact wind turbines have on the hearing as one reason to cut down on wind turbine development. A number of studies have disproved the idea that living in close proximity to wind farms has an impact on human health, but further study has always been prescribed as necessary.
The study is currently under way, combining the measurement of the noise produced by wind power together with the noise experienced by humans in relation to sound pressure levels, as well as the time and frequency behaviour of sound. The study is being carried out in two locales in Finland both within range of wind power farms.
According to the South Karelian Institute, the study not only measures decibel levels, but also tries to analyse “what kind of noise the power plants generate.”
“Simultaneously with the noise, we also measure wind, which means that we can combine the wind data with the volumes and characteristics of the perceived noise. In the future, it might be possible to use this data in the planning of wind power plants,” explains Sari Janhunen, researcher at the South Karelian Institute.
The study not only involves measurements of sound levels and pressure, but also a questionnaire of 1,600 people in an attempt to gauge residents own experiences.
“With the responses, we will be able to analyse how people perceive wind power noise in their own areas of residence compared with other sources of environmental noise in the vicinity,” said Janhunen.
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