Recent articles in Acoustics Today have reviewed a number of difficult issues concerning wind turbine noise and how it can affect people living nearby (Leventhall 2013, Schomer 2013; Timmerman 2013). Here we present potential mechanisms by which effects could occur.
The essence of the current debate is that on one hand you have the well-funded wind industry 1. advocating that infrasound be ignored because the measured levels are below the threshold of human hearing, allowing noise levels to be adequately documented through A-weighted sound measurements, 2. dismissing the possibility that any variants of wind turbine syndrome exist (Pierpont 2009) even when physicians (e.g., Steven D. Rauch, M.D. at Harvard Medical School) cannot otherwise explain some patients’ symptoms, and, 3. arguing that it is unnecessary to separate wind turbines and homes based on prevailing sound levels.
On the other hand you have many people who claim to be so distressed by the effects of wind-turbine noise that they cannot tolerate living in their homes. Some move away, either at financial loss or bought-out by the turbine operators. Others live with the discomfort, often requiring medical therapies to deal with their symptoms. Some, even members of the same family, may be unaffected.