Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of perception and annoyance due to wind turbine noise among people living near the turbines, and to study relationships between noise and perception/annoyance, with focus on differences between living environments. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in seven areas in Sweden across dissimilar terrain and different degrees of urbanization. A postal questionnaire regarding living conditions including response to wind turbine noise was completed by 754 subjects. Outdoor A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated for each respondent. Perception and annoyance due to wind turbine noise in relation to SPLs was analysed with regard to dissimilarities between the areas. Results: The odds of perceiving wind turbine noise increased with increasing SPL (odds ratio, OR = 1.3; 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.25–1.40). The odds of being annoyed by wind turbine noise also increased with increasing SPLs (OR=1.1; 95% CI 1.01–1.25). Perception and annoyance was associated with terrain and urbanization, so that (i) a rural area increased the risk of perception and annoyance in comparison with a suburban area; and (ii) in a rural setting, complex ground (hilly or rocky terrain) increased the risk in comparison to flat ground. Annoyance was associated with objective and subjective factors of wind turbine visibility. Annoyance was further associated with lowered sleep quality and negative emotions. This, together with reduced restoration possibilities may adversely affect health. Conclusion: There is a need to take the unique environment into account when planning a new wind farm so that adverse health effects are avoided. The influence of area-related factors should also be regarded in future community noise research.
- auditory perception
- visual perception
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