Paller C et al, Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality & Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems

Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems
Claire Paller, Phil Bigelow, Shannon Majowicz, Jane Law, Tanya Christidis
University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada

The research indicates statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus (excerpt):

“All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.”

The University of Waterloo – Ontario Ministry of Environment funded IWT health study was publicly displayed during the symposium on sustainability held at York University, Toronto on October 17, 2013.

It is reported that 396 surveys were included in the analysis (excerpts include):

“In total there were 412 surveys returned; 16 of these survey respondents did not provide their home address. Therefore, 396 surveys were included in the analysis.”

Of note is the acknowledgement that as the distance from the IWT increases, sleep improves:

The relationship between ln(distance) (as a continuous variable) and mean Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was found to be statistically significant (P=0.0096) when controlling for age, gender and county. This relationship shows that as the distance increases (move further away from a wind turbine), PSQI decreases (i.e. sleep improves) in a logarithmic relationship. Multivariate analysis involved assessing distance to the nearest wind turbine as both distance and ln(distance). In all cases, ln(distance) resulted in improved model fit.”

In addition the authors state that the relationship between vertigo and tinnitus worsened for those living closer to IWTs:

“The relationship between vertigo and ln(distance) was statistically significant (P<0.001) when controlling for age, gender, and county. The relationship between tinnitus and ln(distance) approached statistical significance (P=0.0755). Both vertigo and tinnitus were worse among participants living closer to wind turbines.”

The conclusion states:

“In conclusion, relationships were found between ln(distance) and PSQI, ln(distance) and self-reported vertigo and ln(distance) and self-reported tinnitus. Study findings suggest that future research should focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.”

Counties and projects in the study include:

§Bruce (Enbridge project);

§Chatham-Kent (Raleigh);

§Dufferin (Melancthon);

§Elgin (Erie Shores);

§Essex (Comber):

§Frontenac (Wolfe Island);

§Huron (Kingsbridge); and

§Norfolk (Frogmore/Cultus/ClearCreek).

Download the study poster →