Wind Turbine Noise and Sleep: Pilot Studies on the Influence of Noise Characteristics
Journal article, 2018

The number of onshore wind turbines in Europe has greatly increased over recent years, a trend which can be expected to continue. However, the effects of wind turbine noise on long-term health outcomes for residents living near wind farms is largely unknown, although sleep disturbance may be a cause for particular concern. Presented here are two pilot studies with the aim of examining the acoustical properties of wind turbine noise that might be of special relevance regarding effects on sleep. In both pilots, six participants spent five consecutive nights in a sound environment laboratory. During three of the nights, participants were exposed to wind turbine noise with variations in sound pressure level, amplitude modulation strength and frequency, spectral content, turbine rotational frequency and beating behaviour. The impact of noise on sleep was measured using polysomnography and questionnaires. During nights with wind turbine noise there was more frequent awakening, less deep sleep, less continuous N2 sleep and increased subjective disturbance compared to control nights. The findings indicated that amplitude modulation strength, spectral frequency and the presence of strong beats might be of particular importance for adverse sleep effects. The findings will be used in the development of experimental exposures for use in future, larger studies.

wind turbine noise

amplitude modulation

experimental study


sleep disturbance


Julia Ageborg Morsing

University of Gothenburg

Michael Smith

University of Pennsylvania

Mikael Ögren

University of Gothenburg

Pontus Thorsson

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Eja Pedersen

Lund University

Jens Forssén

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Kerstin Persson Waye

University of Gothenburg

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

1661-7827 (ISSN) 1660-4601 (eISSN)

Vol. 15 11 2573

Subject Categories


Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics

Environmental Health and Occupational Health





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