BACKGROUND: Noise from wind turbines (WTs) is associated with annoyance and, potentially, sleep disturbances.
OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to investigate whether long-term WT noise (WTN) exposure is associated with the redemption of prescriptions for sleep medication and antidepressants.
METHODS: For all Danish dwellings within a radius of 20-WT heights and for 25% of randomly selected dwellings within a radius of 20-to 40-WT heights, we estimated nighttime outdoor and low-frequency (LF) indoor WTN, using information on WT type and simulated hourly wind. During follow-up from 1996 to 2013, 68,696 adults redeemed sleep medication and 82,373 redeemed antidepressants, from eligible populations of 583,968 and 584,891, respectively. We used Poisson regression with adjustment for individual and area-level covariates.
RESULTS: Five-year mean outdoor nighttime WTN of ≥42 dB was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) = 1.14 [95% confidence interval (CI]: 0.98, 1.33) for sleep medication and HR = 1.17 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.35) for antidepressants (compared with exposure to WTN of <24 dB). We found no overall association with indoor nighttime LF WTN. In age-stratified analyses, the association with outdoor nighttime WTN was strongest among persons ≥65 y of age, with HRs (95% CIs) for the highest exposure group (≥42 dB) of 1.68 (1.27, 2.21) for sleep medication and 1.23 (0.90, 1.69) for antidepressants. For indoor nighttime LF WTN, the HRs (95% CIs) among persons ≥65 y of age exposed to ≥15 dB were 1.37 (0.81, 2.31) for sleep medication and 1.34 (0.80, 2.22) for antidepressants.
CONCLUSIONS: We observed high levels of outdoor WTN to be associated with redemption of sleep medication and antidepressants among the elderly, suggesting that WTN may potentially be associated with sleep and mental health.