This is a simple explanation of the symptoms being reported by residents living near sources of intrusive environmental noise.

Please note that these symptoms are often referred to as “annoyance” but health practitioners experienced at diagnosing illnesses recognise these symptoms generally fall into three broad groups:

  • symptoms related to cumulative sleep disturbance and its many long term consequences for physical and mental health
  • symptoms related to physiological and psychological stress, both acute and chronic, and its many long term consequences for physical and mental health
  • symptoms related to vestibular dysfunction, familiar to health practitioners working with ear nose and throat disorders of vestibular function

Symptoms of “wind turbine syndrome”

Dr Nina Pierpont identified a group of symptoms which were commonly reported to her by people affected by the wind turbines. These symptoms correlated directly with exposure to operating wind turbines.

Almost all these symptoms are known to occur with vestibular disorders. Ear nose and throat doctors such as Dr Owen Black have been the most likely to recognise these symptom clusters but their relationship to infrasound and low frequency noise exposure is not well known amongst most medical practitioners.  

Dr Pierpont gave the symptoms the name of “wind turbine syndrome” and they have been acknowledged by acousticians as being familiar symptoms which acousticians have historically called “annoyance”. The symptoms include the following:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Headache, including migraines
  • Tinnitus
  • Ear pressure (often described as painful)
  • Balance problems / dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Visual blurring
  • Irritability
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Panic episodes
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)

There are other symptoms and sensations reported by those affected by operating wind turbines. Some are related to distubances of vision, and others are related to perceptions of body vibration and resonance of different body cavities. These latter symptoms are well known to acousticians to correlate with specific frequencies and are dose related. Dr Harry’s survey report and Dr Nina Pierpont’s report for clinicians describe some of that research.

Further reading

For detailed information about the range and pattern of symptoms being reported by residents near sources of intrusive environmental noise, please read the:

Watch and read resident’s personal accounts

The resources section of this website contains personal submissions by Australian residents to senate inquiries detailing their experiences.

Other websites which contain video interviews of resident’s experiences include:

Other useful resources with resident’s own descriptions of their symptoms and experiences include the raw data section of Dr Nina Pierpont’s study, also contained in her book, available from the Wind Turbine Syndrome website.