Wind turbine noise, sleep quality, and symptoms of inner ear problems: Findings

The attached poster entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’ was displayed by researchers Claire Paller, Phil Bigelow, Shannon Majowicz, Jane Law, and Tanya Christidis at a recent symposium in Toronto. The research indicates statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus. The Results and Discussion of the posted are excerpted below. The full poster can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. In addition to the poster, this page includes a link to the letter sent to residents in Ontario who were asked to participate in the study.


The data obtained for use in this study were collected between February 1st and May 31st, 2013. 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.

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. 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.

Spearman‟s rank correlation coefficients (rs) between PSQI, vertigo and tinnitus are shown below. All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant. The strongest correlation was seen between the variables „tinnitus‟ and „vertigo‟ (rs=0.2).

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).

Poster C Paller Oct15

Download file (1000 KB) pdf

Reth Information Letter

Download file (148 KB) pdf

OCT 24 2013
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