Background. Wind turbine noise is known to cause annoyance and sleep disturbance, which are primary health effects. An additional risk factor is the trait of noise sensitivity, which describes individuals who are more likely to pay attention to sound, evaluate sound negatively and have stronger emotional reactions to noise. The result is chronic stress, the effects of which could be monitored through detecting stress related outcomes such as hypertension in exposed individuals. An alternative approach is to monitor health related quality of life (HRQOL). This study examines whether there is a change in this metric over time in a turbine exposed community.
Methods. This is a 2 year follow up of a base-line survey carried out on individuals living within two kilometres of industrial wind turbines compared with a matched control group [“Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life”]. We have repeated the self administered questionnaire survey in which self-reported HRQOL was measured using the abbreviated version of the WHOQOL-BREF.
Results. The base-line survey found that residents living within 2 km of a turbine installation experienced significantly lower overall quality of life, physical quality of life, and environmental quality of life than a control group. The turbine group showed no change in WHOQOL or amenity scores with time, however compared to the 2012 control group, the turbine group had lower physical domain scores, and rated their overall health as being poorer. The results do not therefore support any improvement in this global health metric with time.
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Department of Psychology, School of Public Health, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
Kim N. Dirks
School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Presented at Internoise 2013, Innsbruck, Austria, 15-18 September 2013
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